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Race 1

QUARTET (Bankers 1-2. Legs 5,9,10,11,12)

Gettable Quartet here- the Uranus Handicap- by taking 1 and 2 as double bankers with three outsiders. Either that or grab Uranus, give the race a miss and check out MORE-IRO, the excellent new band featuring singer Rita Thao. Big things being predicted for the Eurasian beauty.

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Race 2

QUARTET (Bankers 6-7 Legs 5,8,11,12)

Prepare for a HUGE Quartet payout. Ask Mum or girlfriend for her favourite numbers. It’s one of those races where studying form and doing the math is useless. The results could be very messy. Right, Steve Harvey?

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Race 3

9-2-4-6

The first leg of the Six Up- and which has been the ruin of many a poor boy with outsiders popping up. Careful when filling out that ticket!

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Race 4

2-12-6-1

The first leg of the Triple Trio with a jackpot of over $4 million and where there’s First Sight Love (1) which ran a fair third when coming off the pace at its last start on HKIJC night for Keita Tosaki. And while the galloper has always preferred the city track, it’s hard to get excited about his chances on a win line as it has been tipped by many pundits many times before, but has failed to win in over two years. It will be in the money again, but a better option for a banker might be last start winner Lightning Pegasus (2) with Endorsing (12) very capable of upsetting.

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With these Triple Trio bets, just following the favourites like everyone else will win you sweet f-all. It’s one of many reasons I stay clear of tipsters selections- they’re almost always the favourites- and go for odds. Sure, for safety, take the favourites as double bankers with 4-5 legs in all three legs for an outlay of around $2000 for a couple of full tickets. But then take an outsider as a banker with 5 legs for $2 or $5. The latter comes in, and, hello, Merry Christmas.

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Race 5

2-8-9-3

With its tardy barrier manners, Energetic Class is a shaky choice on a top line, but its last start second for the suspended Brett Prebble was encouraging with, if not for the terrible barrier. Back In Black looking the winner. The Paul O’Sullivan runner can still take this out and could be double banker material with Energetic Class.

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Race 6

8-12-6-5

A very competitive last leg to the Triple Trio, and though not liking anything on a win line, I’m A Witness (8) with Douglas Whyte riding for Tony Cruz should at least run into a placing. This is a race where something winning at long odds would not shock. This shocker just might be Steve Harvey. No, wait, France Valour.

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Race 7

7-3-9-4

Keith Yeung was the first jockey to get into the psyche of the enigmatic Terrific Master (7) before Joao Moreira and Douglas Whyte got in on the act. With the Magic Man sticking with last start winner Superoi (3) and Whyte, perhaps deciding to ride Ambitious Champion (1) for Richard Gibson whose stable is not exactly firing in all cylinders, trainer Tony Cruz has turned to Yeung.

Could this 7a

Terrific Master will offer value whereas Superoi will be at cramped odds, and there are those races when the Red Seas don’t even open for Joao Moreira. This might be one of those occasions- though Moreira doing another Moses act looks to be on the cards.

Could this 7b

Another worthy outsider is Go Go Win (9) with Gregory Benoist aboard, who has quickly adapted to Hong Kong racing along with other new boy Vincent Cheminaud.

Could this 7c

Race 8

9-10-7-11

This looks like a two-horse race between Romantic Touch (7) and Divine Boy (9). But the last race at Happy Valley often throws up a curve ball so don’t leave out Berlini (10), the second ride in Hong Kong in almost a decade for pinch hitting jockey Glyn Schofield. The David Hall-trained galloper usually goes best for the injured Ben So- especially when the money is bang on- and its run two starts ago with the local rider aboard when it rattled home for third was full of merit. Though having better form in Shatin, leaving Berlini out could be fraught with danger. The horse is fit, the stable is flying, and Glyn Schofield will be doing everything possible to make his short return to Hong Kong racing a winning one.

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BEST BET
Race 7: Superoi (3)

NEXT BEST
Race 4: Energetic Class (2)

OUTSIDER
Race 8: Quinella: Divine Boy (9) and Berlini (10)

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SIX UP
R3: 2-6-9
R4: 1-2-6-12
R5: 2-8-9
R6: 6-8
R7: 3-4-7-9
R8: 7-9-10

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PARTING SHOT

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