Race In Focus: 2.50 Happy Valley

Race In Focus: 2.50 Happy Valley
© Racing Post / Edward Whitaker
Joe Eccles
Joe Eccles
Tuesday 17th March 2020

Joe took a somewhat unorthodox route into the industry, having had jobs in a Metal Fabrications factory, Accident Repair Centre and Fleet Car Sales office prior to joining myracing. An avid sports fan, he has had an obsession with Horse Racing for as long as he can remember.

Happy Valley is one of two racecourses situated in Hong Kong, with Sha Tin being the other. The mid-week action run under the lights is a fine spectacle, and since an extensive upgrade back in 1995, the facilities – including the incredible seven-storey main stand – are some of the best in the world.

We have Hong Kong tips for all eight races on Wednesday’s Happy Valley card onsite, whilst below, we have taken a closer look at the feature Begonia Handicap, which sees over £115,000 in prize money going to the winner.

Course Specialists Bid For Further Success

Happy Valley specialists Waldorf and Sparkling Dragon bid to back up their recent course wins when both do battle in Wednesday’s feature.

Tony Cruz’s Waldorf came from a different parish to land the Class 1 Blue Pool Handicap over course and distance last month.

Sparkling Dragon’s victory came at a lower level, but it was recorded in a far less dramatic fashion – showing a smart turn of foot to score by just under a length under French ace Tony Piccone.

Magic Man To Shine

World-renowned rider Joao Moreira, affectionately referred to as the Magic Man, takes the ride on topweight Country Star here for trainer John Size.

A close fourth behind the aforementioned Waldorf in the Blue Pool, he was set another tough assignment in last week’s Chek Lap Kok Handicap, where he trailed home last of seven behind stablemate Hot King Prawn.

This represents a drop-in class from that assignment, and Moreira will be hoping that Country Star can provide him with another success to keep the Brazil-born rider at the top of the jockeys’ championship.

Encore Hopes To Keep Yiu On Top

Whilst Joao Moreira and Zac Purton are well clear of their counterparts in the jockeys’ championship, the trainers equivalent is far more open.

Ricky Yiu heads the current standings with 43 winners to his name – two clear of the next best Francis Lui – and he is represented in the Begonia Handicap by the six-year-old Encore Boy.

This son of Smart Missile has been better known for his dirt exploits in recent months, however, – with Silvestre De Sousa aboard for his victory on that surface in January – and back on turf, he has questions to answer.

Myracing Analysis

Plenty went wrong for the speedball AMAZING STAR when bidding for the four-timer in last month’s Blue Pool Handicap, with Jimmy Ting’s charge unable to get his customary easy lead. Zac Purton did not give the five-year-old a hard time once his chance had gone, so should he find it easier to dominate today, he looks good value to get back in the winner’s enclosure.

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