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Happy Valley Race-by-Race Preview: Special Stars to seal the Ireland Trophy?

Tips for Wednesday’s racing action in Hong Kong

Race 1: #4 Golden Cannon, #7 Showing Character, #5 Never Better, #8 Lightning Missile

Race 2: #8 Oriental Elite, #12 Royal Chocolate, #1 Khaki, #6 Farm Bumper

Race 3: #2 Insayshable, #4 Super Chic, #5 Circuit Glory, #1 Citron Spirit

Race 4: #5 Hinyuen Swiftness, #4 Happy Warrior, #3 Sparkling Sword, #9 Chiu Chow Kid

Race 5: #2 London Master, #9 The Show, #11 Super Euro Star, #1 Thou Shall Sing

Race 6: #9 Special Stars, #7 Dream Come True, #3 Speedy King, #11 Strathallan

Race 7: #7 Waldorf, #1 Gamechangers, #3 Fantastic Eight, #10 Happy Time

Race 8: #1 Harmony Hero, #3 Magnificent, #2 Har Har Heart, #4 New Elegance

Race 1: Briar Handicap

#4 Golden Cannon flashed home to finish second at Happy Valley (1650m) last start, after he cost himself the race by over racing throughout. He deserves another chance here, especially if Vincent Ho can get him to settle from the wide draw (12).

#7 Showing Character used the favourable barrier (2) to his benefit last start, receiving the dream run on the rail before peeling out to win. He’s drawn a touch awkward this time, which may cause issues, but he’s a major player.

#5 Never Better will need a fast pace if he is to run on from rear of the field, but he is ready for a step up to 1650m following two runner-up finishes over 1400m.

#8 Lightning Missile is winless from 13 career-starts in Hong Kong. He holds a Class 4 placing next to his name and with three runs under his belt this season; he should be fit and somewhere near the finish.

Race 2: Broom Handicap

 #8 Oriental Elite was luckless last start at Happy Valley (1000m), where he was blocked for a run at numerous stages in the straight, requiring him to check off heels but he got out, he flew home.

He’ll relish the step up to 1200m and with Zac Purton retaining the ride, prove very hard to beat.

#12 Royal Chocolate was only a neck off scoring his first win from 15 career-starts in his latest at Happy Valley (1200m).

He gets down in the weights again with only 116lb on his back and with the in-form Silvestre de Sousa sticking aboard, should see him get every chance.

#1 Khaki is a winner of one from 16. He’s crafted an impressive record (6: 1-1-2) this season and he comes into this with career-best form behind him. He’ll need to shoulder the 133lb and overcome the wide draw (12), but if he can, he is in with a chance.

#6 Farm Bumper is one of two debutantes in the race. Trained by Manfred Man, he was pushed out to finish second in a trial at Sha Tin (1000m) and off that, he is expected to be competitive on debut.

Race 3: The Happy Valley Vase (Handicap)

 #2 Insayshable is a winner already over 1800m at Happy Valley and he gets an excellent chance on Wednesday to double that tally.

Trained by John Size, Insayshable was imported from Ireland and since arriving in Hong Kong last season, he’s notched up two wins and a G3 third.

#4 Super Chic is already a two-time winner this season and a third win isn’t far away. He was blocked for a run last start in the straight, but once got clear running room he managed to speed home and finish fourth over 1650m.

He gets a welcome step up in distance to 1800m which should see him test this field.

#5 Circuit Glory was handed five points for his last-start win, taking his rating to a career high of 94. He’ll make his own luck out in front. #1 Citron Spirit should be around the mark again.

Happy Valley looks spectacular at night

Race 4: Green Lane Handicap

 #5 Hinyuen Swiftness should lead from the inside draw (1) under Dylan Mo who will look to bounce him out quickly and with his 5lb claim, prove tough to reel in.

#4 Happy Warrior will be forced to sit outside out of the lead, but he should get across relatively easily from the draw (8) and give himself every chance from there.

#3 Sparkling Sword is another who will push forward to contest for the lead. He turned his form around last start to finish second, but he needs a sole lead in order for him to win and against this field he isn’t looking likely to get this.

#9 Chiu Chow Kid is a two-time winner across his career and he should be flashing home late for trainer Benno Yung.

Race 5: Broom Handicap 

#2 London Master is aiming for a hat-trick of wins. He’s drawn a good gate (5) once again and Neil Callan will be looking to remain undefeated aboard him.

#9 The Show won by a neck two starts ago before finishing a narrow second behind the Tony Cruz-trained Wah May Princess. He’ll need to overcome the wide draw (10), but it doesn’t appear to be out of his reach, especially with the handy claim from Dylan Mo (-5lb).

#11 Super Euro Star is the likely speed runner of the race. He’ll fly out to lead under Derek Leung, where he should get every chance to score.

#1 Thou Shall Sing got off the mark three starts ago for trainer Chris So, before finishing unplaced in his last two. He’s another who was handed a poor draw (8), but if he can overcome this then he will be in the finish.

Race 6: The Ireland Trophy (Handicap)

 #9 Special Stars has struggled in his last two starts, as he has gone on to finish unplaced in each. His form prior was excellent, having won two from four and if he can recapture that here, he’ll prove very tough to beat. The strong booking of Zac Purton signals intent from the stable in regard to his winning chances.

#7 Dream Come True has mixed his form, but his best is up to this. He’s only had the one run this season, but his second placing behind Cerefino at the tale-end of the 2017/18 season rates highly for this. He’ll likely take a sit from the draw (8) under Regan Bayliss and from there, get every chance.

#3 Speedy King is a consistent customer. He had his chance to win last start, but admittedly he is a much better horse on the turf than the dirt, so improvement is expected to come with a return to the grass on Wednesday.

#11 Strathallan was well beaten last start in his Class 3 debut, however prior to that he was a Class 4 winner and his runs in the lower levels hold him in good stead for this. He’ll bounce back.

Race 7: Hawthorn Handicap

 #7 Waldorf was blocked for a run in the straight last start, but once out, he flashed home to finish a narrow second. He’ll need luck from the inside draw (1), as he is likely to get back in the run, but if he gets a clean run, he’ll be powering home strongly.

#1 Gamechangers has been in career-best form of late, winning once and narrowly placing in his other two by less than a length. He’s drawn (6) perfectly for Zac Purton, who will ensure that he gets his chance.

#3 Fantastic Eight has been consistent in eight runs this season, albeit without registering a win. He commands respect regardless, especially if he gets a race run to suit.

#10 Happy Time has continuously improved with each race-start for trainer Francis Lui. He’s not without claims.

Race 8: Holly Handicap

 #1 Harmony Hero was game in defeat last start behind Brave Legend. He should find himself in a similar spot and although he has drawn (12) wide, he should get his chance.

#3 Magnificent turned his form around by dead heating for first last start. The horse he shared the win with was Encouraging, who has since come out and scored an impressive all-the-way win at Sha Tin. He’ll make his own luck in the lead and look the winner for a long way.

#2 Har Har Heart was caught flat-footed last start at Happy Valley (1650m). He should enjoy a nice run just behind the speed. #4 New Elegance has notched up two placings this season from five runs. He’ll need a lot to go his way, but he shouldn’t be too far away.