By Hans Ebert

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The buildup for the Longines Hong Kong International Races has already started in earnest with the first surprise having to do with Tommy Berry being replaced on Designs On Rome.

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Once thought to be keeping the saddle warm for the popular Sydney-based jockey who’s partnered the former Hong Kong Horse Of The Year in most of his big races, Karis Teetan, the Mauritian Magician, gets the call up for ride, first on November 20 in the Jockey Club Cup and then on December 11 in the $25 million Longines Hong Kong Cup. Though all the time in the world for Tommy Berry, we must applaud owner Cheung Keung-fai for making the decision to reward Teetan for his inspired ride recently on Designs On Rome in the Shatin Trophy.

With questions still to be answered about Japan’s Maurice as to which races he will contest during the HKIR, and whether Ryan Moore will be able to take the ride, is another big question being asked.

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Meanwhile, there’s interest in which three Hong Kong-based jockeys will join Joao Moreira in representing Hong Kong in the International Jockeys Championship on December 7 at Happy Valley Racecourse. Zac Purton looks set to take up one of these positions with all eyes being on whether that third role will be taken up by either Nash Rawiller or Douglas Whyte, who are both on thirteen wins going into today’s races.

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Looking at today’s card and the overnight odds, it might turn out to be a John Size and Joao Moreira benefit. The partnership has an extremely strong hand that’s more four of a kind than a full house. If, however, things don’t go according to script, prepare for some huge payouts as there are jackpots galore.

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RACE 1
13-3-2-5

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Winning a Group 1 race or a Class 5 race seems to make no difference to Joao Moreira. If Bruce Springsteen was Born To Run, then The Magic Man was Born To Ride and win in the process. In fact, he has some amazing stats for winning Class 5 races in Hong Kong and should go close to taking this out on Caspar Fownes-trained Fantasticlife (13). Caspar uses the friendly “Ghose” sparingly- meaning when he forgets about odds and just wants the horse to win for connections.

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This is definitely not a betting race, but if at Hay Market early, grab some sushi and sashimi and dabble in a Quartet bet.

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RACE 2
2-3-1-10

Some local racing fans were asking us the other day if Sammy Clipperton and Chad Schofield were brothers. They’re not, but we can see the similarity whereas both are terrific young riders and pretty boys with even prettier partners. Female partners, okay.

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We just wish The Chadster would stop clocking up air miles to ride De Little Engine. Yesterday, it disappointed again at Flemington. It’s just a horse. Honest but average. As for that Flemington track, coupled with stiff breezes and the very unpredictable Melbourne weather, it makes having a bet there a time wasting exercise. The Spring Carnival has been entertaining, but definitely a win for the bookies, and where nothing can be taken out of the form of most of the races that have been run and won. All that should be deleted along with Frankie Dettori’s appalling ride in the Melbourne Cup. Thank goodness for Brenton Avdulla, Hugh Bowman, Kerrin McEvoy and Joao Moreira. They provided the memories long after the winning post.

As for The Clippo and The Chadster, it wouldn’t surprise to see them run the quinella here though there are better races to come. You might as well sit this one out and do The Mexican Hat Dance with the Three Amigos.

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RACE 3
2-4-1-10

It’s just a race and of absolutely no interest other than seeing if Douglas Whyte can win this aboard Golden Achiever (2).

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RACE 4
4-11-5-1

To inject some value into tierce and Quartet bets add first starter Convincible into all bets. Brett Prebble who’s riding as well as the rest of the chasing pack behind Moreira has been doing all the work on this one and is worth including at big odds.

RACE 5
(2)-1-7-8-9-10-12

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The first leg of the Triple Trio and where the emphasis should be on not tripping up, especially as this is a 1000 metre race where Premiere (2) will start a very short priced favourite and banker for most TT players. But despite having the magic of Moreira on his back, Premiere is drawn barrier two in a fourteen horse field where the outside barriers are the shortest way home. Sure, Premiere only needs to run into the first three placings. But if it doesn’t, a huge amount of tickets will be confetti.

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Recommended is taking two sets of TT combinations, one with Premiere as banker and one with Happy Sound (10) starring apprentice Dylan Mo. With a jackpot of $11.5 million which can easily swell to $25 million, it’s worth being safe rather than extremely boo hoo sorry and joining the local chant of “Ah diiiiiiiuuuuu”.

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Another thing: This is the second leg of the first Double Trio that carries a jackpot of $1 million. Here, we suggest boxing up five horses in each leg- three who are in the market and two at cricket score odds.

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RACE 6
(6)-2-5-8-13-14

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The first leg of the Six Up where there’s a jackpot of $2.3 million and which usually means an upset could be on the cards before the Fat Lady has barely had time to even clear her throat.

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On form, the main chances are Argentum (2) though creeping up in the weights, Fancy Music (5), Unicron Jewellery (6), Go Beauty Go and Blazing Pass (13). But for a real roughie, throw Glory Star (14) into selections. It carries a featherweight after the ten pound claim of apprentice Dylan Mo who is yet to ride his first winner in Hong Kong.

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The times, they really need to start changing for the young rider before it becomes obvious that he’s been put on no hopers being sent around to enjoy the scenery and get a drop in the ratings. Horses like this one.

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RACE 7
4-7-5-6-2

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Another tough leg to the Six Up where some of the better chances are drawn out wide including first starter Beat The Clock (4) for the Batman and Robin of Hong Kong racing- Size and Moreira. The interesting runners are Hit A Home Run (6) with Opie Bosson aboard, and who’s asked for an early release from his riding contract here, and Richcity Fortune (11).

RACE 8
14-12-8-4-1

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John Size must have been a mathematician in his previous life. The astute master horseman knows the Hong Kong handicapping system inside out and is working hard to ensure that Eastern Express has sufficient points to be eligible for International Day. And with a run under his belt this season, this enormously talented galloper MUST win this to have any chance of getting into, for instance, The International Vase.

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With this in mind and the strategic manner in which Size goes about placing his horses in their races, Eastern Express just has to go on top. Of course, John Moore is another master at tackling these Cup raises and has entered his usual army of horsepower.

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RACE 9
9-14-12-7

Take Volitation (9) out of this race- a last start winner but racing up a class- along with lightly weighted Superior Boy (14), and this race becomes a very trappy affair.

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That sweet boy and shrewd self-promoter Craig Williams has been flown in to help prop up the thin jockey ranks. And after a good day at Flemington yesterday could cause an upset aboard Glenealy Prize (12) who has been working very well.

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RACE 10
8-1-6-7

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Instead of “Go East, young man”, we suggest, “Go wide, everyone”. Despite last start winner My Darling sure to start favourite, he’s racing up a class and against much stronger opposition. If he gets beat, many Six Up tickets will be gonski.

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RACE 11
11-3-1-4-13

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Baba Mama (4) has gone best for Derek Leung, who’s unfortunately still sidelined after a fall. But this galloper, who has shown he can go onto bigger things, should suit the hustle, bustle and vigour of Nash Rawiller. What’s of concern is whether the 1400 metres it tackles here is on the short side and whether Baba Mama might just need some mollycoddling after quite a number of hard runs this season.

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Though he should be included in Quartet bets, and despite being a big fan of the horse, none of us can have him on a win line. Instead, we’ll go for some value by siding with Neil Callan with Mambo Rock despite being a colt that’s very much a work in progress. But this is a very tough race with a number of winning hopes including Beauty Kingdom (8), owned by Mr and Mrs Sa Sa, and the untapped potential of Power Of One (13) with Karis Teetan aboard, a jockey no one should leave out of any bets.

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BEST BET
Race 8: Eastern Express (14)

NEXT BEST
Race 10: Quinella: Jolly Banner (7), My Darling (8)

VALUE BET
Race 11: Mambo Rock (8)

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SIX UP

R6: 2-5-6-8-13-14
R7: 2-3-4-5-6-7-11
R8: 14
R9: 9
R10: 7-8
R11: 2-3-4-8-11-13

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QUADDIE
R8: 12-14
R9: 9-12-14
R10: 7-8
R11: 2-3-8-11-13

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PARTING SHOT

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