PUNTERS and form-book students are faced with a real ‘head-scratcher’ in the Class Three Ma Wan Handicap (3.15pm) over the extended mile.
With the two in-form ‘Packing’ gallopers, Award and Famous, lining up, and last start winners Nothing New and Viva Hunter in opposition, this has the makings of a classic Happy Valley handicap, with the width of a cigarette paper likely to cover the principles at the finish.
Add the likes of track specialists Amazing One Plus and three-time winner Invincible Missile into the equation, and you have a feeling that luck could play an important part in determining the result.
One horse that the handicapper may not have caught up with yet is the Tony Cruz-trained CALIFORNIA SKY, a four-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro, sire of HK champion Golden Sixty.
This lightly-raced, former two-time Australian winner, has only raced half-a-dozen times in the territory but showed marked improvement when stepped up to the extended mile for the first time at the end of last month.
On that occasion, having tried to make all from the off, he was only caught close home by a rejuvenated Gorytus, with rival Packing Award pipping him for second.
With that experience behind him and with a much better rails draw compared to the reopposing Packing Award, he is capable of dictating the early speed from the off again.
Jockey Alexis Badel is now back in form after riding the last winner at Sha Tin on Sunday and with the Tony Cruz stable in red-hot form – five wins and seven places in the past fortnight – this looks a recipe for success.
California Sky (e/w) 3.15pm Happy Valley