Almanac Racing: HK Racing 2010

The surfeit of City meetings in Melbourne this weekend – Valley Nights tonight, HQ tomorrow and a twilight fixture back in Moonee Ponds Sunday – does certainly not bring seasonal cheer to punters. These are extremely moderate cards and, given my job hunting is about as successful as my punting, I’ll not be attending any of them.

For me it will be watching cricket – today the tour match at the MCG, tomorrow morning and afternoon at Niddrie and Brunswick, and Sunday back again behind the famous old VFA stand at Gillon Oval. If I decide to punt, it will be after these commitments, in front of TVN, where the Valley twilight coincides with the rich Hong Kong 10 race card, the first at 325pm our time and the last at 850…margharita or gourmet pizza then to be called.

Australian trained horse don’t feature this year – only Tony Noonan’s Ortensia in the Sprint flies the Aussie flag – but there are always many jockeys familiar to local punters (including Beadman, Williams, Prebble) and they compete here against the world’s elite.

Nominally, I suppose the feature is the Hong Kong Cup (R9, 730 our time) in which the top and bottom weights will lead the betting. Vision D’Etat (1) is widely travelled, racing most recently at Newmarket (UK), Deauxville (FR), Meydan (DUBAI) and Shatin (HK). English Oaks winning filly Snow Fairy (13), fresh from her Kyoto (JAP) triumph, should fill the likely quinella, although Beadman and Prebble’s mounts (2+6) will have good chances but be “unders” on our Totes.

The HK Mile (working backwards here – R7, 650pm)will see the familiar scenario of top hoop Ryan Moore aboard the favorite; on this occasion Paco Boy (1), last start 4th in the Breeders Cup at Churchill Downs (USA). Darren Beadman’s mount, Able One (2), has strong Shatin form and looks to be the logical danger.

Perennial leading HK jockey Douglas Whyte will partner expected winner Lucky Bravo (4) in the Singapore Handicap (R6, 615pm).

The HK Sprint (R5) features revered Sacred Kingdom (No 1, B.Prebble) and the KRANJI King, Rocket Man (F. Coetzee). Melbourne’s schmoozers are trying to get Singapore’s superstar here for an autumn tussle with Black Caviar, so this will be an interesting bout. Ortensia (C. Williams) has a good chance but is bad value, so I’d look elsewhere for TOTE returns…maybe Zac Purton’s Little Bridge (9).

Australian interest in the HK Vase (R4, 5pm) centers on the appearance of Cup winner Americain (No1, G. Mosse). Despite dropping back to 2400m, he should be way too good.

I’m looking forward to chilling out on Sunday evening and watching the excellent TVN coverage of this fantastic meeting. It would be great one day to go…anyone had that experience?

Hopefully we can get a deposit for next year from the couch this week.

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