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Andrew Hawkins’ Happy Valley selections: Is Naboo Star ready to shine?

| 20.02.2019

Check out his picks for Wednesday’s racing

We’re in for another day of cracking racing at Happy Valley in Hong Kong today.

But before it gets going, international horse racing expert Andrew Hawkins has tipped up each and every race on the card…

Race 1: Fanling Handicap

#4 Raichu doesn’t win out of turn – he’s only one from 28 in Hong Kong – but he’s a horse who’s always dangerous off his current mark. He’ll be in the mix somewhere and there’s every chance he can break through for a second win here.

#1 Show Mission is more of a 1000m specialist, but he has been the bridesmaid three times at this course and distance. Zac Purton sticking strong is a push in itself and he’s the main danger.

#5 Nashashuk has to overcome the outside gate but he deserves respect on his current rating. #6 Perfect Choice steps out for Richard Gibson for the first time and cannot be overlooked.

Race 2: Fo Tan Handicap

#2 Fortune Patrol has run well enough in two of his four starts since getting down to Class 5. He should enjoy every chance from gate five and he is a contender in an open race.

#1 The Joy Of Giving has won his last two starts with Joao Moreira in the saddle. Victor Wong does take seven pounds off, which aids his cause, but he’s also not the most straightforward ride. Still, given his current form, he has to be considered.

#3 Doctors Delight steps up to this trip for the first time. It should suit and, even from gate 11, he’s in the mix. #7 Come On Wongchoy is next best.

Race 3: Kwai Chung Handicap

#8 Absolucool comes to Happy Valley for the first time while also stepping back to 1200m. He has had plenty of issues, but there’s talent there and this race looks suitable for him. He’s worth a play here.

#3 Good Companion had things against him last start, but if he can bounce out somewhere towards the lead from gate seven, he can control this race and finish on top.

#10 Diamond Legend will be at the other end of proceedings, surely drifting back from his wide gate despite settling second last time out. He will be running on late. #2 Roman Odyssey can return to form with even luck.

Race 4: The Volunteers’ Challenge Cup

#1 Champion’s Way was an impressive winner on debut at this course and distance, despite only getting a late call-up to the race. He should enjoy every chance just behind the speed once again and he is the one to beat here.

#5 Little Wise Man is on debut for Frankie Lor. He has caught the eyes in his trials and a forward showing can be expected on debut.

#9 Gouten Of Garo remains winless after 16 starts but he is showing signs that he can break through soon enough. He gets blinkers on here, too. #2 Khaki gets into a better draw with Victor Wong taking weight off. He can finish around the mark.

Race 5: Sai Kung Handicap

#4 Joyful Union steps out for the first time in Hong Kong here. He has plenty of natural talent as he showed in New Zealand pre-import and he has trailed well too. He looks a leading contender.

#11 Double Valentine has drawn awkwardly and will have to get a long way out of his ground from gate 11. However, he should be finishing off strongly and he’s not without a chance in here.

#9 Midnight Rattler disappointed last start after winning down in Class 4 two starts back. Maybe this grade is beyond him now, but he deserves another chance with a better draw. #3 Shining Gem steps up to 1200m for the first time in Hong Kong. Based on his last-start third, he bears close watching.

Race 6: The Rotary Centenary Challenge Cup

#10 Naboo Star’s last two starts have been very good and the step up to the extended mile should suit him now. He’s going to win before too long and it looks very possible that it will come here.

#3 Merrygowin has improved at his last two starts, including last time out when he returned to Class 4. He’s yet to miss the top four down in this grade and he’s right in the mix here.

#12 General Dino mixes his form and, with the wide gate, he will need a race run to suit. That said, he may get that here and, if so, he can steam home late. #2 Happy Spirit has dropped a long way in the ratings. He’s won two from four in Class 4 and now, back in this grade, he might be able to get into the finish again at odds.

Race 7: Tai Po Handicap

#2 Little Bird finished near the rear in a bunched finish last time out, having had to work too hard early. Zac Purton returns to his back, having scored a big win on the five-year-old in June, and if he can get into a nice rhythm near the speed, he’s capable of racing right away.

#4 Happy Victory is also likely to be in a forward spot. He’s run well twice over the straight 1000m and, even with an awkward draw at his first time around a bend, he’s a player. #8 California Gungho might need the drop in grade but he’s capable if he gets even luck. #10 Noble Delight should be around the mark again.

Race 8: Tsuen Wan Handicap  

 #8 Penang Hall was sent out at 107/1 last time out, but found the line nicely to grab third. He’s been running well since returning and he won’t have to do any work in the run. He will be running on strongly.

#9 Arcada has started to find form at his last two outings. The former Irish galloper should be in the winners’ circle before too long and he deserves respect here.

#3 Har Har Heart rarely runs a bad race and he should be somewhere in the mix again, even with a bad draw. #11 All You Know takes his first crack at Class 3 but deserves respect based on his consistency this term.

Full list of tips:

RACE 1: #4 Raichu, #1 Show Mission, #5 Nashashuk, #6 Perfect Choice

RACE 2: #2 Fortune Patrol, #1 The Joy Of Giving, #3 Doctors Delight, #7 Come On Wongchoy

RACE 3: #8 Absolucool, #3 Good Companion, #10 Diamond Legend, #2 Roman Odyssey

RACE 4: #1 Champion’s Way, #5 Little Wise Man, #9 Gouten Of Garo, #2 Khaki

RACE 5: #4 Joyful Union, #11 Double Valentine, #9 Midnight Rattler, #3 Shining Gem

RACE 6: #10 Naboo Star, #3 Merrygowin, #12 General Dino, #2 Happy Spirit

RACE 7: #2 Little Bird, #4 Happy Victory, #8 California Gungho, #10 Noble Delight

RACE 8: #8 Penang Hall, #9 Arcada, #3 Har Har Heart, #11 All You Know

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All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publishing



Daniel Anwar

Daniel has written about sport for Coral, Squawka, FourFourTwo and the Premier League, among others.