Andrew Hawkins with top Placepot advice for Wednesday's card at Happy Valley
In Hong Kong, owners are often known by the monikers they bestow on their horses. The Kwoks are known as the 'Beauty' owners, the Woos label their horses 'Helene' for the family matriarch, the Lees are 'Packing' plenty and Johnson Lam is 'Ambitious'.
For owner Paul Cheng, Mr 'Mission', it looks like he is on a mission to have a successful night at Happy Valley on Wednesday, and the cards may fall right for him.
Mission Tycoon sits alongside Ambitious Dragon, Designs On Rome, Rapper Dragon and Golden Sixty – some of Hong Kong's finest gallopers – as a winner of the Classic Cup, the second leg of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series. That's illustrious company, but this season he has looked far from the front-running force of last year.
In a tightly handicapped environment, though, a 14lb drop since September is significant. Mission Tycoon gets seven-pound claimer Alfred Chan aboard, too, so essentially he is 21lb below his mark when he finished seven lengths behind Green Luck, who reopposes, over course and distance in September.
Mission Tycoon has a series of duck eggs to his name, but his last three runs have been over 6f at Sha Tin on both turf and dirt. They were races that would never have suited.
He is unlikely to be a popular selection; one shrewd Hong Kong pundit exclaimed, "No chance!" However, that also makes him a perfect Placepot inclusion and he goes in along with Enrichment, who has to overcome the outside gate but continues to race well.
Race 4 (leg 1): 4, 6
Race 5 (leg 2): 2, 4
Race 6 (leg 3): 8, 9
Race 7 (leg 4): 2, 7
Race 8 (leg 5): 3, 7
Race 9 (leg 6): 8, 12
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