A TYPHOON hit Hong Kong on Sunday, leaving both race tracks under many inches of water.
The good news is both Sha Tin and Happy Valley are the quickest drying courses in the racing world.
It means Happy Valley’s inner-city track won’t offer up its usual good to firm surface, but will still probably ride on the good side despite more rain being forecast.
This is important, as most horses in HK are used to racing on a fast surface. So be warned, there could be some shock results.
Trainer Caspar Fownes, dubbed the ‘King of the Valley’, is represented by seven runners and looks set for another good day.
Fownes, who has trained over 400 winners at the unique track, will be looking to CHEERFULJET (12.45pm) to get him off to a good start when the four-year-old lines-up over six furlongs.
The New Zealand import produced an encouraging performance on only his second run, when bouncing out of the stalls and leading until the final furlong, when third to progressive Manful Star over the track and trip a fortnight ago.
Expect similar tactics to be employed by tough Australian jockey Brett Prebble, and with improved fitness a major plus, he could be hard to catch.
An obvious threat would be Flying Force, who was an eye-catcher when staying on strongly in the closing stages over five furlongs at the end of last month.
The combination of trainer Dennis Yip and jockey Zac Purton has already proved a fruitful partnership to follow this season, with two wins and three places from just eight runners.
The bad news is Flying Force has been drawn the negative outside No. 12 slot, and is going to need all of Purton’s skill not to get caught wide throughout the race.
Fownes will also be hoping BEST STEP (2.45pm) continues to progress after winning on his seasonal reappearance over six furlongs three weeks ago.
This three time track and trip winner made the most of his inside stall when making all and holding off the late cavalry charge.
A 5lbs penalty is fair, but stall 11 is not, and jockey Purton will again have to be at his best not to overwork the four-year-old when looking to break quickly from the stalls and find a prominent position just off the pace.
Master Albert with Joao Moreira in the saddle will be the red-hot favourite to confirm his tall reputation, and finally get off the mark on his fourth run.
Having already won both his trials at the Valley, and been given the prime inside draw, connections will be disappointed if he doesn’t win. He rates the principle threat.
Dennis Yip and Purton may have been unlucky with the outside draw for Flying Force, but they will be hoping for better luck when they team up with GENEROUS HEART (2.15pm).
This progressive four-year-old is well-handicapped on some of his form last season, and has been sharpened up for this contest with a promising track and trip trial victory 10 days ago.
That gallop will have put him spot-on for this event, and he should prove hard to beat.
Cheerfuljet 12.45pm Happy Valley
Generous Heart 2.15pm Happy Valley
Best Step e/w 2.45pm Happy Valley