IT HASN’T been plain sailing for bettors since racing resumed at Happy Valley early last month.
Although half a dozen favourites have obliged since the start of the season, there have also been a similar number of double-figure surprises, including winners at odds of 33/1, 36/1 and 28/1.
Luck is always going to play an important role in determining winners around the tight-turning Valley circuit, and the draw is almost always crucial to a horse’s chance.
As per normal at the inner-city track, the eight-race programme is a minefield of competitive and tricky handicaps, with the likelihood of a couple of upsets again along the way.
One horse who catches the eye at attractive odds is AUTHENTIC CHAMP who lines-up in the Shek Lei Pui Handicap (1:45pm).
The probable front-runners in the betting for this contest include the speedy Ares, who has to overcome an outside draw, Jazz Steed, carrying a penalty after dead-heating recently, and unpredictable gallopers Namjong Sings and Super Alliances.
The form figures of Authentic Champ are uninspiring (7709) but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
Trainer Jimmy Ting’s five-year-old has twice been noted finishing strongly over the course and distance, including when upsides rivals Namjong Sings and Jazz Steed as they passed the judge last month.
Ting, who excels with his horses over the six-furlong track and has a 17 per cent strike-rate since the start of last season, goes for the first-time blinkers and major improvement can be anticipated.
Authentic Champ (e/w) 1.45pm Happy Valley
PYRAH’S PLACEPOT PICKS
1.15pm – 5 & 6
1.45pm – 3 & 10
2.15pm – 2 & 8
2.45pm – 2 & 11
3.15pm – 5
3.50pm – 3 & 10