Andrew Le Jeune's Hong Kong tips: Thou Shall Sing at Happy Valley

By Andrew Le Jeune@LJ__andrew
Tue 12 Jun 2018

Joao Moreira is tagged back in to the action on Wednesday night at Happy Valley after his ban in an unfamiliar position - second in the jockey’s championship.

Since riding the first five winners on the opening day of the season no one has come close to matching the Brazilian, let alone heading him, so for Zac Purton to be one ahead with nine meetings to go is a remarkable achievement in its own right.

Moreira returns with a full book of eight rides compared with Purton's seven and on balance if Purton were able to still be holding the one winner lead or still be level at the end of the night that would be considered a success.

1.45pm Happy Valley: Thou Shall Sing to win:

There is every chance Joao Moreira could have struck by the time we get to the fourth race but Thou Shall Sing looks to have an outstanding chance of breaking through for a maiden win for trainer Chris So, regardless of earlier results.

A well-backed favourite on debut, things did go to plan and after encountering some traffic problems he was a neck short of victory.

Luck has not been on his side since, either, with two further defeats both over the minimum trip but the extra furlong plus a good gate and Moreira on top could well add up to success this time.

Flying Monkey actually finished three-quarters of a length and a place in front of Thou Shall Sing last time out but is 2lbs worse off.

If you're an exotic player of quinellas or swingers - any two in the first three places - they could be the two to play with Manful Star, another with solid stats under Wednesday's conditions.

2.45pm Happy Valley - Silverfield to win:

Silverfield does not have the most inspiring record as an eight-year-old with just two wins to his name in Hong Kong.

He was only a neck short of reeling in Outlawed last time though and is now 3lbs better off.

He has come up with the inside gate, which allows jockey Umberto Rispoli, who on Sunday celebrated 1500 wins worldwide, to settle in to a perfect spot on the rails behind the speed on the short run to the first bend whilst others are scrambling for position. He can then unleash the turn of foot that almost brought about victory last time.

Thunder Stomp and Moreira should get the leaders spot from gate six and will be dangerous if left alone in front. Har Har Heart, who Moreira has ridden on his last seven starts including for two wins, could easily place under the excellent Jack Wong whose claim was reduced to 3lbs after riding his 70th Hong Kong winner on the weekend.

Clearly Silverfield has not quite lived up to expectations, having been purchased out of Andre Fabre's yard when known as San Marino Grey. He ran Havana Gold to a neck in the Group One Prix Jean Prat in 2013.

Only two wins, at a much lower level, have followed but a third on recent evidence shouldn't be too far away.

3.15pm Happy Valley - Hot King Prawn to win:

Unquestionably the most exciting race of the night involves the return of John Size's young sprinter Hot King Prawn. Only beaten once in six starts the lightning quick son of Australian sire Denman makes the trip down to the island for the first time, having won five from five down Sha Tin's 5f straight before finding one too good with a first try over six.

You could argue the trip might be a concern once more, maybe stretching the three-year-old’s limits but having drawn barrier one there should be zero excuses on that front.

Easily the quickest from the gates, Zac Purton should be able to take his rivals out of their comfort zone with early & middle fractions that drain rivals ability to quicken past him in the straight.

Those rivals include Solomon’s Bay, last season’s Surrey Stakes winner at Epsom for Roger Varian.

Chasing him home at Epsom that day was Seven Heavens the son of Frankel who also now plies his trade in the region.

Slightly disappointing in four starts so far, a featherweight and a good draw in three might help in picking up some minor prize money.

Archippus is possibly the biggest closer in the field and a regular ride for Purton but with the jockey, unsurprisingly, sticking with Hot King Prawn the ride goes to championship rival Joao Moreira.

Normally patiently ridden, a wide gate all but guarantees he will be ridden that way but do not be surprised by a big finishing kick. In the hottest race of the night though, they will all do well to catch Purton and the speedy grey.

Royal Ascot trackers at the ready!

By Hong Kong standards it's a quick turnaround as we return to Sha Tin a day earlier than normal with a Saturday meeting before a midweek gap allowing race fans from this part of the world to focus on Royal Ascot. Sadly there are no representatives from these parts as Lucky Bubbles has not measured up locally for a tilt at the Diamond Jubilee, but rest assured there will be horses running next week which will find their way to Hong Kong at some point in the future.

The Britannia Stakes has been a popular race to pillage in the past with agents, owners and trainers looking for Hong Kong’s next hero.

Andrew Le Jeune's Happy Valley best bets:

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