A punter's guide to Hong Kong's Happy Valley where a good draw is a huge factor
Hong Kong expert Richard Young gives punters the inside track
Apart from its unique setting, the most noticeable aspect of racing at 'The Valley' is the tight nature of its right-handed track. The course is approximately 7f in circumference and all races take place over five distances, ranging from 5f to 1m3f.
Given the tight turns and relatively short home straight, a combination of sharp jockeyship and tactical speed are of paramount importance.
The draw is also a big factor – especially over 6f where the runners have to negotiate a sharp turn soon after the start and another near 90-degree bend turning for home.
That advantage is even more marked when the rail is on its outermost configuration [the C+3 course] and nearly 60 per cent of the 450-plus races over 6f since the start of the 2016-17 season have gone to those drawn 1 to 5.
With only one bend in the 5f race there is a fairly even spread of winners across stalls 1 to 7 but statistics show those housed in
8 to 12 usually get the worst of the argument.
Over 1m½f the bottom half of the draw has the edge and it is worth pointing out that more than 26 per cent of winners over that trip in that time have emerged from stalls 1 or 2.
Hong Kong features several of the world's leading riders, with Joao 'Magic Man' Moreira and last year's champion jockey Zac Purton usually fighting it out at the head of the jockey standings.
Bubbling under are a clutch of talented riders, headed by Karis Teetan and Grant Van Niekirk, while Vincent Ho continues to impress in the saddle.
On the training front Frankie Lor and Caspar Fownes are the ones to follow at Happy Valley.
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