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Sugar Sugar (Photo by Lo Chun Kit))

Luke Middlebrook – Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (20 March) for a 9-race fixture under the lights.

In-form five-year-old SUGAR SUGAR generates considerable interest with the quick turnaround for Wednesday’s Class 3 race over 1200m at Happy Valley.

The Caspar Fownes trainee has been in sensational form recently, winning two on the trot two and three starts ago before finishing third at this track and distance last week. On that occasion, he had to navigate barrier 9. However, usual rider, Alfie Chan, was unable to secure a conducive position in running, leaving him trapped three-wide throughout.

To the horse’s credit, he stuck on well in the straight and was only beaten by 2.5 lengths by Raging Blizzard, which is strong form.

This week, starting from barrier 1, Chan should secure a far more economical run in transit and can bounce back to his winning ways if he handles the quick back up. Last-start winner Colourful Emperor, starting from barrier 2, will likely run his race from the front, while Wings Of War, starting from barrier 3, should map with a chance.

Elsewhere, three-year-old gelding GALLANT VALOUR is on track to secure a second career win when he steps out in the Class 3 race over 1650m.

GALLANT VALOUR has shown ability for the Jamie Richards yard, recording one win and five minor placings from the nine times he has raced. In his last outing, Richards stepped the youngster up in trip for the first time, from 1200m to 1650m.

Drawn out wide in barrier 12 was challenging, but GALLANT VALOUR let down strongly late to finish a close third.

With barrier 3 and ridden by Zac Purton on Wednesday night, GALLANT VALOUR appears to get more favours and he enters a race where he appears to have what it takes to improve upon last start and secure a win.

Track Spy

Video Replay Stars

Race 5 – 6 SUPER CHARIZZARD

He was in the market on debut three weeks ago, after a series of good-looking barrier trials. However, he had excuses, which led to him finishing 3.75 lengths behind in sixth. He began fairly and mapped at rear, but things really turned sour when he was severely checked at the 550m. With experience on his side and taking a rise in distance, there’s a positive outlook for this 3YO’s chances in his second race for the inform Mark Newnham stable.

Race 9 – 9 LIGHTNING BOLT

 

His last-start fourth-place was better than it reads as he became unbalanced and lost ground at the 450m after becoming contacted before laying in over concluding stages, resulting in the rider having to stop riding and straighten his mount approaching the winning post. This resulted in LIGHTNING BOLT unable to be properly tested. He wasn’t beaten far and the run suggests he could be back in form after going off the boil for a few runs after stringing together two wins in succession earlier in the season.

Sectional Time Stars

Race 2 – 12 KING INVINCIBLE

He has been disappointing but he did show improvement last start with an eye-catching run into fourth after settling well back early from barrier 3. He has since trialled well, in which led from start to fi nish, so perhaps a change of tactics is in store for this week.

Race 8 – 10 AESTHETICISM

A noticeable drifter late in the betting last start, it could pay to watch for any support this week. Despite finishing seventh, his performance still had merit as he raced too keenly throughout. Given the right race shape and a well-timed ride, he possesses the ability to let down sharply in the concluding stages, potentially playing a role in the fi nish.

Luke Middlebrook’s Selections

R1. 6-5-10-3

R2. 7-2-3-12

R3. 5-8-1-3

R4. 11-3-3-5

R5. 1-6-10-5

R6. 3-5-1-7

R7. 6-2-4-5

R8. 6-4-5-8

R9. 3-11-5-9

Betting Strategy:

R2 #12 Each-Way
R5 #6 Win
R6 #3 Win
R9 #3 Win

Race-by-Race Previews

Race 1: Smart Beauty more than capable of winning again in this race, as he should receive all the favours from barrier 4 under Avdulla. Go Go Go last run was better than it reads and do not dismiss. No surprises to see Purton take the ride here. Diamond Winner has been knocking on the door and win won’t surprise anyone. He will map with a chance from barrier 1. Horse Of Good Luck second start in this grade after dropping in class and could improve. Dragon Pride looked unlucky when being held up at a crucial stage last start. Always a chance at this level.

Race 2: Open race with plenty of chances here. Super Fast Dragon generally gets back in the running but dashes strongly home. He should get the race run to suit and is good enough to bounce back for a win here. Spicy Spangle well prepared for debut and watch the bet- ting. Universal Blaze from astute yard and watch betting support as he makes his debut here. King Invincible caught the eye flashing home late, nice effort and has trialled well since (read “Track Spy” for more information). Oversubscribed old-timer who is racing in good form and can run well from a nice, low gate.

Race 3: Another wide-open contest, which is the theme of the night. Double Show turned in a nice effort last run when finishing strongly but comes up with a slightly better draw here and could map handier. Viva A La has been placed last two starts and deserves a win soon. Drawn perfectly in gate 2 and should go close. Wind Speeder will win in this grade very soon but barrier 9 is awkward. Super Elite last run was better than it reads and do not dismiss. Circuit Splendor looks a solid good chance based on last start. Nicely drawn low for his first-up run.

Race 4: High Percentage had vet excuses last start and forget the run. He is better than recent form suggests and from barrier 3 he can run a race here with Purton taking the reins. Glory Cloud turned in a nice effort last run when finishing strongly into fourth. Third start here and is improving all the time. Exuberant generally gets back in the running but dashes strongly home. However, the jockey could make better use of gate 4. Molly’s Witness having second start and can improve with experience. Tattenham eased early before going on to make late ground.

Race 5: Sports Legend down in class in this race and should perform better. He has drawn nicely low in barrier 3 and gets blinkers on for the first time, which he looked to have trialled well in recently. Super Charizzard had genuine excuses last start and can improve in this race (read “Track Spy” for more information). Dan Attack last start placing was full of merit, nice effort and expect a more forward run from a better gate here. Easy Snip needs a fast early speed to produce a big finish but could map closer from barrier 1. E Universe last run was better than it reads and do not dismiss.

Race 6: Gallant Valour ultra-consistent galloper and who can play a part in the finish. He comes up with a better barrier here in gate 3, which should provide Purton the opportunity to position closer to the speed than last start. All Riches looks a solid good chance based on last start. He will run his race on the lead. Loyal Baby down in class in this race and should perform better. Kasa Papa racing well with good sectional time rankings recently. Red Majesty last run suggested a win was very near, but barrier 12 is tricky.

Race 7: A couple of last-start winners here who have what it takes to win again. Strongest Boy last start winner who retains good form and should get the race run to suit from barrier 1. Galvanic more than capable of winning again in this race if he secures a conducive run in transit from barrier 7. Dragon Star should begin fast and will be trying to lead all the way if he gets across from barrier 10. Win Win Fighter always finishes close up and must be rated a chance at this level. Courier Magic has improved since the blinkers were added and might be able to measure up in Class 4.

Race 8: Lovero looks the one to beat based on current form but he will need a decent amount of luck and a smart steer from Chung from barrier 12. Eighteen Palms form is good and must be rated a solid chance. June Planet last start winner who retains good form and can run well again. Samarkand last start winner who rises in class but he is career-best form and should handle the upgrade. Aestheticism was eased early before catching the eye late last start (read “Track Spy” for more information).

Race 9: Sugar Sugar caught wide last start and still ran well into third just last week. Comes up with barrier 1 here, which could provide him the right amount of luck to bounce back to his winning ways. Wings Of War changed stables recently and has improved and is getting close to a win. Colourful Emperor a fast beginner who can run well if he finds an easy lead. Lightning Bolt turned in a nice effort last run when finishing strongly after he had excuses (read “Track Spy” for more information). Solar Partner last start winner who rises in class but should be able to run well again under Purton.