CHELTENHAM Festival fever may be sweeping the UK, but you can guarantee racegoers in Hong Kong will be just as excited as Happy Valley opens its doors for today’s racing.
The eight-race card takes place on the ‘B’ course, and if past statistics are anything to go by, horses drawn in the inside stalls (1-2-3) appear to have a big advantage.
Records show over the past three seasons, especially in six-furlong races, that winners have come from those stalls 37 times from 88 races.
In the 1.45pm over six furlongs, the John Size-trained NOBLE DELIGHT has finally drawn an inside number (2) after a couple of encouraging efforts from awkward draws over trips short of his best.
This New Zealand-bred four-year-old has a good record over course and distance having won twice, and placed once, from five runs.
With Joao Moreira back in the saddle, having served his two-meeting suspension, the omens are looking good, especially as it is unusual that Noble Delight did his final gallop so close to the race last Sunday, with Moreira aboard.
Obvious threat Blitzing looks sure to be at the head of the betting market, having been a model of consistency this season.
Tony Cruz’s contender is already a two-time winner but has found it tough to get his head in front over the last couple of months, and maybe the handicapper has caught up with him.
Another horse who rates a value-for- money proposition, having drawn an ideal position in stall two, is FRUSTRATED who lines up for trainer Frankie Lor in the 12.15pm over five furlongs.
Lor is the go-to trainer in Hong Kong at present. The former assistant to training legends John Moore and Size started on his own last season, and instantly made the record books by saddling the most winners by a Hong Kong trainer (65) in his first season.
The likeable Lor has continued his successful sequence this season, having visited the winner’s circle 37 times already.
Those wins include Mr Stunning and Glorious Forever, who claimed victory at the HK International Races meeting in December.
Lor has had to be patient with the speedily-bred Australian import Frustrated who, after three eye-catching trials before his debut, has twice endured double-figure draws and had to work too hard in the initial stages of his races.
This time he is mapped to sit just behind the leaders in what should be a fast-run race, and then have a chance to prove how good he is down the short home straight.
The added bonus is he has in-form Victor Wong claiming his valuable 7lb aboard. Wong has already ridden 16 winners at the Valley this season.
Drawn next to him is highly-rated newcomer Aiolos. This Chris So-trained gelding has had work-watchers purring over the last couple of months and is sure to play an important role in the race.
Frustrated e/w 12.15pm Happy Valley
Noble Delight 1.45pm Happy Valley