As a quick recap of the races at Shatin or Sha Tin on Sunday, there were two very messy races.


In the 1600 metres Hong Kong Classic Mile, though winning on the former Kris Lees trained Furore, jockey Hugh Bowman was fortunate not to have been suspended for the concertina effect he created.



The ensuing result? Knocking down around 6-7 runners including the race and Derby favourite Dark Dream. A suspension would have meant the popular Bowman not being able to ride Winx at the marvellous mare’s upcoming start, something which would have have had most of Australia invading Hong Kong armed with didgeridoos and cans of Tooheys. What a furore THAT would have created!


HKJC Chief Steward Kim Kelly made the correct decision tempered with savvy diplomacy. Who would have thought Kimmy possessed these talents, eh?


Meanwhile, in the Centenary Vase, at least three riders suffered from brain freeze and handed the Zac Purton ridden and Tony Cruz trained Exultant the win gift wrapped in a neat little package with a cherry on top.


It was THE Putha Man’s 1200th winner in Hong Kong as a trainer- no small task- and a brilliant ride by Purton.


The other good news was Alberto Sanna throwing everything including Italian sausages and a few salamis to get Winner Supreme home for trainer Me Tsui.


This was The Man From Sardinia’s first winner since his return to race riding after fracturing his hip following a horror fall while exercising on his mountain bike. The win was his fourth for the season and a huge confidence booster. Now, let’s see him on more horses with legitimate winning chances.


There was then the quartet of winners from Frankie Lor- the rise and rise of the Hong Kong born trainer who’s very much his own man and definitely heading towards much bigger things- even outside of Hong Kong. His current and future horsepower are only just revving up their engines.

Someone who does quite a bit of riding for Lor- Grant van Niekerk- rode another winner when King Opie won the last at 5’s. He’s proving his early doubters wrong.


Call it a gut instinct, but watching the way the South African rider goes about his business by travelling under the radar, no one is going to intimidate him. Grant van Niekerk is no pushover. He’ll stand his ground.


Still with things South African, Douglas Whyte says Goodbye to Happy Valley as a rider tonight. That last ride will be a bittersweet moment. But one must move on…

He must be enjoying the LOUD sucking up sounds following him around now that he’s confirmed to be a trainer next season.


What must really be music to his ears is that these sounds are coming from some who were busy rubbishing him for 3-4 years.

He took it all on the chin. Said nothing at the time. Never went on Twitter to plead his case. But don’t think any of this is lost on the legendary rider. There’s a wry smile on his face these days.


Still on a South African theme, the simulcast of The Met from Kenilworth in Cape Town was an unmitigated disaster. Apart from the gremlins over there failing to report rider changes, when will the broadcast of these races be more than they are- amateurish camerawork, random cutaways of rooftops and trees and a female host with a shrill voice who always seemed to be in a tremendous hurry to get interviews out of the way?

One has to wonder if the HKJC will ever return to the same well for more of this…third rate stuff.


The simulcast was so lacking in being a “stimulcast” that it made the doleful music over meaningless track work shots and lack of oomph on the HKJC muppet show “Racing Into Oblivion” look like “Ace Ventura” on steroids.

Unable to take any more, we left shanty town to enjoy a good Saturday night out instead of staying home and playing horse racing’s version of Cluedo. And that was the weekend that was. Let’s please move on…


This leads us to another Happy Wednesday at Happy Valley and a very different change of pace. We have no idea what to expect as we get close to another new Lunar Year- the Year of the Pig- but one hears there’ll be various Baby Shark challenges between the bands at the Beer Garden and Adrenaline and Happy Wednesday regulars. Why not?


Baby Shark has gone viral and who knows what type of offbeat moments await
Happy Wednesday fans at Happy Valley tonight?

Another thing: The Refresh button has been pressed and the ever popular Hannah Butler finally returns tonight with a new production team and a new series of Happy Wednesday Fashionistas.


On the racing side, most professionals believe Joao Moreira, already with 31 winners to his name and a 22 percent strike rate since his return to Hong Kong in December,
will win on Jolly Bountiful in the second and on races six and eight aboard Red Warrior and Country Star, respectively.


Both horses are apparently up for bonuses should they win plus having great chances of galloping off with something called the Hong Kong Airlines Millions Challenge. Heard of it? Care?


One can only take a wild stab and think that with all these financial gains up for grabs, both runners won’t be going around to wave at those lined up along the edge of the Beer Garden.

We’re hardly students of form, analysts and track work watchers, but our gut instincts have worked pretty well for us over the years. We have our own strategies for winning which we prefer to keep under lock and key.

What we can say is that we never waste time on the first two races and walk on eggshells when it comes to the third race at the Valley.

Being the first leg of the Six Up, it’s tough to crash out early. But many do as it’s quite a rarity for the favourite to win. We load up on this race.

What do we like tonight? See below. But if we see Zorro on a horse, things might change.


RACE 1
Sunny Orient (9)
Regency Honey (7)
The rest? Very shaky Class 5 conveyances.

RACE 2
At the overnight odds of $1.8 and being a perennial place getter, we just can’t have Jolly Bountiful on a win line despite having Joao Moreira as the pilot. Frankly, we can’t be bothered with this race.
Letsgofree (11)
Jolly Bountiful (1)
Star Superior (12)
Pakistan Baby (2)

RACE 3

Golden Kid (9)
Ten Flames (6)
All You Know (1)
Charity Wings (4)

RACE 4
Super Lucky (1)
Iron Bravo (6)
Besta Luck (7)
Gouten De Garo (11)
RACE 5

RACE 6
Red Warrior (3)
Good Omen (9), below winning for Douglas Whyte.


Circuit Glory (5)
Fast Most Furious (4)

RACE 7
Strathallan (10)
Moment Of Power (1)
Most Beautiful (6)
Gentle Breeze (11)

RACE 8
Country Star (3)
Telecom Brothers (8)
Super Hoppy (7)
Seven Heavens (12)

PARTING SHOT

#HKracing #DouglasWhyte #HappyWednesdayHKJC #HannahButler #FrankieLor #BabyShark