Jim McGrath with three tips for Wednesday's Happy Valley card
1.15 Happy Valley
2.15 Happy Valley
2.50 Happy Valley
Zac Purton is tipped to bounce back with another batch of winners on Wednesday’s nine-race card at Happy Valley as his battle with arch rival Joao Moreira continues.
Critics were quick to flag up Purton’s losing streak of 30 going into last Sunday’s meeting at Sha Tin, but none were foolish enough to put the knife in, which was just as well as he landed a telling treble to narrow the gap to seven behind the ‘Magic Man.’
The champion’s reply can gather further momentum when he takes an attractive book of nine rides, with at least four of them appearing to have solid winning chances.
Purton arguably saves the best till last when he partners the Frankie Lor-trained Reliable Team in the Class 2 1m1f handicap (2.50), which should prove a fitting climax to a high-quality card.
The five-year-old is five from 14 in an impressive career so far – four of his wins have been at Happy Valley – and he gave a glimpse of his potential when a respectable fifth to Golden Sixty in the Hong Kong Derby last March.
His seasonal reappearance was a cracking run when he made the early running before finishing a close-up seventh to Excellent Proposal in a particularly strong Class 2 heat at Sha Tin.
Back at the city track, where he is a course-and-distance winner, Reliable Team will be hard to beat under Purton, while Moreira’s mount, the Waikato Guineas third Columbus County, a well-regarded New Zealand import, is the danger.
It would not surprise if Purton took the final four races on the card, as Regency Master looks set to overcome a wide gate 11 draw (aided by an anticipated solid pace) in the Class 4 handicap (1.15), over an extended 1m, and Storm Warnings (1.45), who was a Melbourne metro winner before export, is giving off all the right vibes for trainer Douglas Whyte and should also be followed.
But make a note of perhaps the most interesting of Purton’s rides, the Lor-trained Tornado Twist in the Class 3 6f handicap sprint (2.15). He will appreciate a drop in grade after failing to win in ten starts last season and is now on the right mark.
Bets can be placed into Hong Kong pools with the Tote, Coral and Ladbrokes. First race at Happy Valley on Wednesday is 10.45am BST
HAPPY VALLEY TOTE PLACEPOT
Race 4 (1st leg): 2 Whiskey Neat, 5 Sprint Forward
Race 5 (2nd leg): 6 Prince Of Frog, 7 Leap Of Faith
Race 6 (3rd leg): 1 Regency Master, 5 Maldives
Race 7 (4th leg): 1 Storm Warnings, 3 Mig Energy
RACE 8 (5th leg): 1 Tornado Twist, 4 Wind N Grass
RACE 9 (6th leg): 1 Columbus County, 2 Reliable Team
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