INDEPENDENT HORSE RACING NEWS

Prophet’s post-mortem: Spade can ace them with better barrier

A Silvestre De Sousa clinic sees him earn 'Ride of the night', while Caspar Fownes' Rocket Spade spearheads three for your Hong Kong blackbook.

Happy Valley, Wednesday January 10.

Track condition

The track appeared to give all runners a chance. “B” position (rail was out four metres, track width 26.5m). 

Summary

Hong Kong racing was back at Happy Valley for the track’s only Group race of the year, the G3 January Cup. There were also some quality sprinters making the trip across town to fight it out over the blistering 1000m.

Silvestre De Sousa had a red-letter evening with four winners, one of which was good enough to claim the esteemed ‘Ride of the night’ award. ‘SDS’ also got the job done on Money Catcher, who carried on from his excellent form from the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup.

Blackbook

R1 No.5 HOSS (4YO; Jamie Richards)

3rd of 12 (beaten 1L); Class 4 – 1200M – (60-40); Win Odds: $78.00

Don’t be fooled by this horse’s starting price, trainer Jamie Richards spoke glowingly of him early on. The 1200m was a bit short for him but he worked home stylishly and looks ready to pounce in a suitable event in the very near future. 

R3 No.4 RACING FIGHTER (8YO; Dennis Yip)

2nd of 12 (beaten 1L); Class 4 – 1200m – (60-40); Win Odds: $9.6

Racing Fighter was found to be lame early in the season, so Yip gave him time to recover. He trialled three times prior to Wednesday and looked to be going well. He raced very well first-up for second but he has more to come with many ratings points in hand. Each of his six wins have come with Zac Purton aboard so I would be watching closely for Purton to team up with this galloper shortly. 

R8. No.6 ROCKET SPADE (5YO; Caspar Fownes)

2nd of 11 (beaten 1L); Class 3 – 1650M – (80-60); Win Odds: $3.1 

Rocket Spade was well fancied last night but ran into a better one on the night. He rattled home for second but, as with all his runs this preparation, he drew an outside gate and wasn’t able to race close enough in the run. Given a better draw at his next outing he should be able to atone. 

Treat with caution

R4 No.2 HANDSOME BO BO (Danny Shum)

Once again, nothing against this horse, he is a terrific animal that has won seven times, but he had everything work in his favour last night with a cracking speed up front and a couple of others running into dead ends at the finish. He will pay the penalty for winning and would need all the breaks to go his way for a repeat. 

R6 No.1 SUPER BABY (Ricky Yiu)

De Sousa must have had the Formula 1 yellow flag out (no overtaking) early in this race. They went so slow down the back straight, the ambulance nearly went past them. From there, De Sousa was able to get enough out of the four-year-old to just hang on. Unlikely to find the same circumstances next time. 

Ride of the night

SILVESTRE DE SOUSA R3 No.2 Hero Star

I’m going to call this the goldilocks ride. Not too fast, not too slow, just right. Hero Star is a difficult ride and De Sousa handled him beautifully. Allowing him to run along without spending all his petrol tickets and having enough left at the finish. Not as easy as it looks with this horse, but a job well done to De Sousa.  

Best training performance

FRANKIE LOR, R7 No.2 Money Catcher

This horse has had more than his fair share of critics but this preparation he has blossomed. Having won two Group 3 events and placed in the G1 Hong Kong Cup, this once-maligned member of the Frankie Lor stable is showing the reward for effort from the champion trainer.

On Wednesday night he was challenged throughout and may have turned it up previously, but Lor has really got him rolling now and although Happy Valley looked a little unsuitable, he was still too strong for his rivals. 

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