Michael Cox



The Happy Valley Report – September 14

Michael Cox has identified the key runners ahead of Wednesday night's first Happy Valley meeting of the new Hong Kong season.

Rail position:

Track: Good 

Weather: Mainly fine but hazy. Very hot and very dry during the day, with highs of up to 36. Conditions should cool later but it will still be a warm night for racing.

When Harry Met Danny

Danny Shum is throwing big numbers at the early-season meetings and Harry Bentley could be the biggest beneficiary. 

The trainer had 12 runners at the season opener and has nine entered across eight races at the Valley, and Bentley has been booked for a total of nine of the 20. 

Despite Purton getting the cream, as he often does – in this case See U Again in the opening race – being Shum’s go-to man when he can’t get Purton can be a fruitful position. 

Bentley has ridden 23 of Shum’s last 100 runners and although that period has only garnered two wins, one of them at the season opener, it shapes as a partnership that will bring more success.

The British jockey is booked for four at the Valley and the best two are Harmony and Home (Race 5) and Comet Splendido (Race 7).

It's A Big Night For

Pierre Ng. It is clear Ng is angling for a fast start and after two placings from eight runners on September 11, he comes to the first Happy Valley meeting with four runners, including a couple of serious chances from low draws. 

Trader (Race 3) and Hardly Swears (Race 5) were both early favourites. 

They are both the type of older stable transfers that Ng is looking to establish his reputation with, but if they don’t produce results, they are simply taking up the space of fresh talent and hurting his strike rate.

From The Trials

The obvious market-shaping trial was from the aforementioned Trader. On form this five-year-old would not be favourite in betting but the stable transfer to Ng and the trial on August 30 has him top pick in a competitive race.

Karis Teetan took Trader to the front in the dirt trial and was sitting quiet as the sprinter cruised to the line ahead of a decent reference in the 98-rated The Golden Scenery. 


Trader has been transferred from David Hayes to new trainer Pierre Ng. (Photo by Lo Chun Kit/Getty Images)

The Stat

John Size isn’t considered a ‘Happy Valley trainer’ but the 11-time champion has a better record at the city track, and runs horses there far more frequently than most people realise. 

Last season Size had the fourth most runners at Happy Valley – even more than the ‘King of The Valley’ Caspar Fownes. 

The Australian was also third for total wins (30) and strike rate (13.8 per cent). 

He has six runners, and it is possible each of them will start single figures in betting. 

Size’s lowest rated runner, the 26-rated Raging Blaze, will start shortest of all. 

Ping Hai Galaxy, Size’s highest rated runner on the card, is his best though. This seven-year-old has established himself as a real Valley specialist and has three track and distance wins.

Dropping In Grade

Wins All (Race 4).

A busy pre-season has paid off for Zac Purton. After pushing through the pain barrier to clinch a fifth championship, Purton could have been excused for missing much of the early morning grind of riding gallops and trials. 

Instead, he was identifying early season chances and helping with their preps. 

The last time Wins All dropped into Class 5, he won well, and since then ran some solid races in Class 4. 

A three point ratings drop in the off-season has Chris So’s seven-year-old back in the bottom grade and attracted the attention of Purton, who rode the horse in a gallop back on August 27. 



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