Hong Kong – The Manawatu Racing Club Challenge Trophy, Race 5, is the feature event on the Happy Valley card today and it could also play a pivotal role in this year’s battle in the Jockey Championship between Joao Moreira and Zac Purton.
Moreira will ride Irish import Insayshable following a six month absence since his Hong Kong debut in December when placed behind South African import Singapore Sling.
Purton rides a fit horse in Doctor Geoff who ventures to the city circuit for the first time and his recent form around Rise High reads very well.
However, Doctor Geoff has been anything but straight forward in recent outings and he might not be the most reliable of galloper in a finish.
He will probably start favourite and there could be some good value around in the Exacta, with the form around these two reading far better than their rivals and Insayshable for Moreira should be taken on top.
His trainer John Size has given him three trials leading in to this outing so while he might not have the hard fitness edge he does look highly progressive in a thin race.
Moreira should start the meeting with a winner aboard the David Hall-trained Penzance.
This fellow steps up to 2200m for the first time and the manner in which he has been competing over shorter distances suggests he will be very tough to beat.
He is drawn nicely from where Moreira should be able to land in the box seat and although he will start favourite, he looks a solid Win bet.
There are two reasonably good Eachway plays on the card as well, with Oriental Elite (Race 3) and Amazing Star (Race 7).
Oriental Elite was rather unlucky on his last outing when shuffled back through the field at a critical stage and once clear, he powered to the line for Dougie Whyte.
In this event, there looks to be plenty of pace which will allow this galloper to use his powerful finish.
Amazing Star carries just 47.5kg and is first-up after a small break but his form from last preparation looks a lot better than it did at the time of him being beaten.
The wide draw might be a positive for him working forward and with a postage stamp on his back he might prove hard to catch for young Victor Wong.
Race 1 No 3 Win Race 5 Exacta 4 and 1 Race 7 No 9 Eachway
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