Happy Valley Wednesday preview and tips: The Thinker

They race at Happy Valley on Wednesday
They race at Happy Valley on Wednesday

We preview today's Happy Valley meeting in Hong Kong, live on Sky Sports Racing from 10.45 (GMT), complete with £1.3million in prize-money and some high-quality handicaps.

Thinker aiming to book Dubai ticket in Valley burn up

Today's Happy Valley card is one of the strongest of the season at the city track with nine races, well over £1.3m in prize money and some high-quality handicaps in the second half of a programme covered live on Sky Sports Racing.

Pace is the key to the Happy Valley Handicap over 1200m at 1.15. A fierce gallop is likely if California Fortune, Sea Jade and Telecom Brothers adopt their normal style, which could set things up for strong finishers like Super Hoppy and Wishful Thinker.

Super Hoppy hasn't been helping himself with tardy starts but he's well drawn in stall 1 and has Silvestre de Sousa aboard for the first time.

Wishful Thinker is another late swooper. He came from last to first in dramatic style under Alexis Badel on his sole previous visit to the Valley in December and could be bound for a tilt at the G1 Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night if all goes to plan here.

Rise High back to fighting weight after a break

Another horse with Group-race potential on the Valley card is Rise High, who returns fro a break with very solid claims in the Shan Kwong Handicap at 1.45.

This gelding completed a hat-trick on the final day of last season and looked as good as ever when third in a race which has worked out very well when last seen in November.

Trainer Caspar Fownes sent him for a spell at the HKJC's Conghua base when he started to lose weight after that race but the ex-Irish gelding has regained the pounds and has been trialling very well in recent weeks.

Fownes said: "He came good after a break last season and when he went to Conghua he put 50lb back on in a matter of weeks, which was just what I wanted to see.

"The form of his Chevalier Cup run is strong and, all going well, we've got a horse to work with for the next couple of seasons that could certainly progress into a G1 contender."

Draw could make the difference as Music bids to call the tune again

It looks as if it could be a case of big prices bar two in the closing Blue Pool Handicap at 2.50 as two of Hong Kong's most progressive young sprinters bang heads in a race where the draw and early position look set to play a notable role.

Tornado Twist has rattled off a quickfire hat-trick for John Size and Joao Moreira at Sha Tin - clocking some impressive closing splits in the process - but he tends to miss the break and stall nine poses another tricky question.

By contrast, Music Addition has drawn perfectly in stall one after a commanding success here three weeks ago.

Silvestre de Sousa should be able to secure a smooth passage from his inside gate and that could be the difference over a distance where those drawn in the inside four stalls tend to win around twice as often as those drawn in the highest four gates.

Whyte set right for switch to training

How will Douglas Whyte fare as a trainer now his epic riding career is over?

The man who won 13 consecutive titles in Hong Kong couldn't conjure up a farewell winner on his final day at Sha Tin on Sunday but played a fairly ordinary hand with typical drive, partnering two seconds and a third before being given a rousing sendoff by hundreds of fans who stayed long after the last race to say thanks and goodbye.

European history shows that star riders seldom make quite the same impact when training, but Tony Cruz made a seamless transition from the Hong Kong weighing room to the trainer's stand and it will be very surprising if Whyte doesn't follow suit.

The 47-year-old South African has the best contact book in Hong Kong and also has excellent links to Europe and Australia built up through three decades at or near the top of his profession.

Add in an upcoming tour of some of the world's most successful stables and an acute sense of what is needed to thrive in Hong Kong's intense handicap culture and it will come as a big surprise if he isn't running an elite team sooner rather than later.

Moore back in the HK big time as Conte takes on the master miler

Ryan Moore is back in Hong Kong this weekend and aiming to take down local superstar Beauty Generation when he climbs aboard the John Size's Conte for the first time in the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup.

Joao Moreira has opted to ride last year's runner-up Beat The Clock in the 1400m G1 contest but Moore is well aware that the Magic Man doesn't always have the magic touch when it comes to picking the right one in major races.

Europe's leading big-race rider landed his first Hong Kong Derby last March when Moreira chose Nothingilikemore ahead of eventual winner Ping Hai Star.

Conte was put in his place by Beauty Generation in the Stewards' Cup last month but recorded his best performance yet in finishing second, while Moore will also team up with former Royal Ascot winner Gold Mount in the Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup.

GET THE FULL PICTURE: Don't miss out on FREE video replays and our fantastic My Stable tracker. Log in now and become a Sporting Life Insider.

Related horse racing links

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read Racing

Mabs Cross is backed each-way in the King's Stand
1

Mike Cattermole: Hot, Cross, Fun!

Too Darn Hot can get back to winning ways at Royal Ascot, according to Mike Cattermole who also fancies Mabs Cross and Fun Mac to run well on day one.

Check out the latest race-by-race selections
2

Monday's racing preview

John Quinn's smart start to the season can continue at Catterick on Monday, according to Nick Robson.

Phoenix Of Spain in winning action
3

Ed Chamberlin: No Spain, no gain

ITV Racing's lead presenter Ed Chamberlin plucks out two banker selections for day one of Royal Ascot 2019.

Le Brivido wins the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot
4

Tuesday's Royal Ascot runners

The big guns have been declared for the St James's Palace Stakes and King's Stand Stakes, while Aidan O'Brien relies on Le Brivido in the Queen Anne.

James Doyle celebrates on Sea Of Class
5

Wednesday's Royal Ascot runners

Get all the latest news and views ahead of Wednesday's Royal Ascot action, featuring a stellar edition of the Prince Of Wales's Stakes.

Most Read Racing

Mabs Cross is backed each-way in the King's Stand
1

Mike Cattermole: Hot, Cross, Fun!

Too Darn Hot can get back to winning ways at Royal Ascot, according to Mike Cattermole who also fancies Mabs Cross and Fun Mac to run well on day one.

Check out the latest race-by-race selections
2

Monday's racing preview

John Quinn's smart start to the season can continue at Catterick on Monday, according to Nick Robson.

Phoenix Of Spain in winning action
3

Ed Chamberlin: No Spain, no gain

ITV Racing's lead presenter Ed Chamberlin plucks out two banker selections for day one of Royal Ascot 2019.

Le Brivido wins the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot
4

Tuesday's Royal Ascot runners

The big guns have been declared for the St James's Palace Stakes and King's Stand Stakes, while Aidan O'Brien relies on Le Brivido in the Queen Anne.

James Doyle celebrates on Sea Of Class
5

Wednesday's Royal Ascot runners

Get all the latest news and views ahead of Wednesday's Royal Ascot action, featuring a stellar edition of the Prince Of Wales's Stakes.

Next Race Off

13:42 Clairefontaine
6
(0)
Fleur D'estruval
J: K Dubourg
1
(0)
Fiesta Delafayette
J: M Berto
5
(0)
Fast Rouge
J: B Dubourg
2
(0)
Peggy
J: T Stromboni
3
(0)
Faut Bien Rever
J: A Chitray
7
(0)
Beretta Bilberry
J: M Lefebvre
8
(0)
Une De La Seniere
J: A Merienne
9
(0)
Bess
J: B Berenguer
10
(0)
All Risk For Love
J: G Re
11
(0)
Pandora De Sou
J: N Gauffenic
12
(0)
All For Her
J: O Jouin

Racing Tips

Check out the latest race-by-race selections

Monday's racing preview

John Quinn's smart start to the season can continue at Catterick on Monday, according to Nick Robson.

A view of Uttoxeter racecourse

Our best bets

Check out Sporting Life's best bets across racing, football and more.

Phoenix Of Spain in winning action

Ed Chamberlin: No Spain, no gain

ITV Racing's lead presenter Ed Chamberlin plucks out two banker selections for day one of Royal Ascot 2019.