2020 Fortress Hill Handicap Free Picks at Happy Valley Hong Kong

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HKJC Press Release - DECLAN SCHUSTER
Updated: November 24, 2020

HAPPY VALLEY FREE PICKS - April 29 (DECLAN SCHUSTER)

Race 1: #7 Good Days, #4 Gala Night, #6 Exaltation, #1 Giant Turtle

Race 2:: #8 Aeroflash, #2 Victorious Seeker, #3 Enjoyable Success, #6 Bring It On

Race 3: #6 Everyone's Elite, #2 Happy Warrior, #1 Party Together, #10 Diamond Legend

Race 4: #2 First Responder, #3 Colonel, #7 Simply Fluke, #11 Lucky Missile

Race 5: #8 Travel Datuk, #10 The Show, #9 Victory Mastery, #5 Sky Show

Race 6: #4 Xiang Bai Qi, #6 Flash Famous, #10 Dynamic Eagle, #7 Green Reign

Race 7: #9 Diamond Brilliant, #5 Victoriam, #4 Beauty Amigo, #1 Shining Gem

Race 8: #9 Acclaimed Light, #3 Surrealism, #1 Cinquante Cinq, #11 Owners' Star

Race 9: #10 What A Legend, #5 Shouson, #1 Californiadeepshot, #4 Little Bird

Race 1: Tai Hang Handicap

#7 Good Days is looking to snap a streak of two runner-up efforts. He's racing well and from gate three he maps to get the right run for Zac Purton.

#4 Gala Night has gone to a new level since switching to a forward-style of racing. He's the likely leader here and he could prove difficult to reel in.

#6 Exaltation doesn't do much wrong. He's consistent enough to warrant respect.

#1 Giant Turtle will relish the step back to Class 4. He can figure now against weaker company.

Race 2: Wan Chai Handicap

#8 Aeroflash appears to have found his feet, closing for a solid fourth last time out. He wears the blinkers for the second time which is key and if he can overcome the sticky draw, then he has a leading chance for Chad Schofield.

#2 Victorious Seeker has been costly, narrowly placing in his last five runs. Still, he's consistent and the services of Joao Moreira once again will ensure he is a leading player.

#3 Enjoyable Success's racing pattern is costly as he regularly finds himself well back in the field with far too much work to do, but still, he does have a bit of class about him and will be boxing on strongly.

#6 Bring It On is next best off two competitive runs.

Race 3: Quarry Bay Handicap

#6 Everyone's Elite is looking to snap a run of six consecutive second-place efforts. He's in-form and has proven himself to be a talented youngster albeit without recording a win yet. Joao Moreira sticks aboard and yet again he rates as a leading player.

#2 Happy Warrior does his best racing at the city circuit. He has placed in his last two outings and gets a favorable draw for Wednesday's test.

#1 Party Together turned his form around last start stepping back to Class 4. He can challenge this bunch.

#10 Diamond Legend is consistent. He's a winner already this term and with only 117 lbs on his back he gets in light.

Race 4: North Point Handicap (2nd Section)

#2 First Responder appears to have found a competitive mark. He closed nicely last start for a narrow fourth and with slight improvement off that run, he can break through.

#3 Colonel has plenty of ability but is struggling to piece it all together. The awkward draw makes life difficult, but the services of Zac Purton once again help.

#7 Simply Fluke won well last time out after snapping a run of two second-place efforts. He's flourishing for new trainer Douglas Whyte who clearly has this horse spot on.

#11 Lucky Missile has shown ability. He gets in light and the inside gate will afford him every chance.

Race 5: North Point Handicap (1st Section)

#8 Travel Datuk is winless across 39 starts. Still, while him getting his nose in front has been a problem he does have 11 minor placings to his name, so if anything, he's at least consistent. Antoine Hamelin takes the reins here and if he runs his usual race, just maybe he can finally grab that elusive win.

#10 The Show is a grand campaigner with seven wins from 74 starts to his name. He's honest and has won off this mark in Class 4 before, so, it wouldn't surprise to see him do it again.

#9 Victory Mastery has shown ability across his short eight-start career. Joao Moreira retains the ride here and he's capable of rattling home.

#5 Sky Show grabbed sixth on debut. He caught the eye in his latest trial and the booking of Zac Purton here bears close watching.

Race 6: Fortress Hill Handicap (1st Section)

#4 Xiang Bai Qi doesn't win out of turn but has been a consistent customer this term. He was close-up last start over this course and distance and again gets a favorable draw to showcase his best here.

#6 Flash Famous has gone to a new level this term as a four-time course and distance winner. He still appears to have a number of rating points in hand and this contest is suitable.

#10 Dynamic Eagle appeals down in the weight. He resumed nicely first-up this campaign and with that run under his belt further improvement can be expected here.

#7 Green Reign is winless but has ability. He's running out of chance but if he does manage to put his best foot forward, then he is going to find himself in contention.

2020 Fortress Hill Handicap Odds & Entries

Race 6 at Happy Valley, Hong Kong on Wednesday, April 29 - Post 9:15 AM

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
8 Graceandmercy 80-1 V Borges
132 Lbs
A T Millard
6 Jolly Honour 13-2 Zac Purton
128 Lbs
Y S Tsui
10 Smart Patch 18-1 Chad Schofield
125 Lbs
K L Man Man
3 Xiang Bai Qi 13-2 Karis Teetan
125 Lbs
David Ferraris
12 Top Score 18-1 Matthew Poon
123 Lbs
K W Lui
2 Flash Famous 4-1 Joao Moreira
123 Lbs
Frankie Lor
9 Green Reign 5-1 Vincent Ho
123 Lbs
Caspar Fownes
1 Wind Glider 18-1 Neil Callan
120 Lbs
Paul O`Sullivan
5 Delightful Laos 8-1 Derek Leung
119 Lbs
A S Cruz
4 Dynamic Eagle 16-1 Anthony Hamelin
119 Lbs
C S Shum
7 Reynolds 40-1 Matthew Chadwick
119 Lbs
Douglas Whyte
11 Hercules 80-1 Ben So
114 Lbs
C H Yip

Race 7: Causeway Bay Handicap (2nd Section)

#9 Diamond Brilliant is unlucky not to already be a winner this term. He maps to get a nice run from gate two which should afford him every opportunity as an on-pace runner.

#5 Victoriam won well last time out. He can back that win up with another as long as he can overcome the awkward ally.

#4 Beauty Amigo is another who won well last start. The wide gate isn't ideal but now that he has pieced it together, he might be ready to do so again.

#1 Shining Gem can box on from gate one. He'll need luck but if he gets it, then he's going to be taking the shortest route home.

Race 8: Fortress Hill Handicap (2nd Section)

#9 Acclaimed Light has mixed in this class before and is a winner at the city circuit already this campaign. The distance might be a touch short for him but he's drawn favorably and with a soft run throughout, he's capable of making it count.

#3 Surrealism is racing well this season. He's still winless but with the right run he can figure in the finish, depending on how far back in the run he plans to settle.

#1 Cinquante Cinq has ability and now finds himself at the top of Class 3 which is arguably won of the hardest spots to win. He gets a favorable draw but he might have just found his mark.

#11 Owners' Star can figure with the right run from gate two.

Race 9: Causeway Bay Handicap (1st Section)

#10 What A Legend appeals as a two-time winner this campaign. He was beaten by the wide gate last time which saw him racing well out of his ground at the tail of the field. He gets a favorable draw this time and can position himself in the right spot for Chad Schofield.

#5 Shouson has gone to a new level of late as a winner of three out of his last six runs. He has appeared to have held his condition well and this contest is more than suitable.

#1 Californiadeepshot has hit the ground running since his arrival to Hong Kong four starts ago. He won well on debut and since then has been competitive. The wide gate makes life hard but he does get the services of Joao Moreira once again.

#4 Little Bird is next best.

Flash Famous shoots for a five-star night

BY DECLAN SCHUSTER (Hong Kong Jockey Club)

Frankie Lor heads into Wednesday morning's Happy Valley meeting with course specialist Flash Famous looking to become the first horse this season to win five races at the city circuit when he contests section one of the Class 3 Fortress Hill Handicap (1650m).

The trainer is fresh off a Group 1 Chairman's Sprint Prize success with Mr Stunning on Sunday, and is hopeful that Flash Famous can continue his rich vein of form and leave behind the season's other four-timer Valley scorers, Very Sweet Orange and Amazing Star.

The Australian-bred was a two-time winner pre-import in Australia but from 23 runs across his first two Hong Kong seasons he could only manage one win. This season he's been a revelation though and sits on four wins from seven runs, all over 1650m under the lights.

Jockey Joao Moreira credits the upturn to Lor, whose expertise was apparent with Mr Stunning returning to his Group 1-winning best of season's past with Sunday's 20/1 win.

"Frankie has turned Flash Famous's form around, he has improved, for sure, and there's no doubt that he's capable of winning more races. I'm confident about him giving me another one in the Class he's in at the moment," the Brazilian ace said.

Lor's charge arrived in Hong Kong on a mark of 71 and dropped down to 59 for his first win before his last-season struggles saw him hit a career-low of 45. He has since lifted to 70, cementing a place in the middle of Class 3.

"He's held his form really well this season and I just keep him at Happy Valley over 1650 meters because he always seems to get good results there," Lor said.

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"He arrived in Hong Kong in Class 3 and he found it a bit hard, he didn't race too well and then in Class 4 he got the win and last season I had to try a lot of different things but he's much improved this season, he just needed that time."

Moreira has two wins aboard the Ilovethiscity gelding, and the pair will break from gate two this time. The ace rider has 107 wins to his name this term to lead the championship, 28 of which have come at the city circuit.

"I think it was a very good run last time, we were a little bit unlucky that we couldn't get the momentum at the right time because he's a momentum type of a horse and if I had got the momentum he would have won. Based on that, I'm going into the race with plenty of confidence," Moreira said.

Lor and Moreira will also team up with Heavenly Thought in the second section of the Class 3 Fortress Hill Handicap (1650m).

The So You Think gelding was a Group 3 winner pre-import in Australia and placed second behind current stablemate Dark Dream in the 2018 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2200m), but he took 18 starts to break through in Hong Kong.

"I always said, Conghua is a good place for some horses, some horses have issues or problems, we send them up to Conghua," Lor said, crediting the mainland training facility for the gallopers noticeable turnaround in form this season after going unplaced from 11 attempts last campaign. This season, Heavenly Thought has five top-three finishes from nine runs, including one win.

"It's more relaxing up there, the place is quiet; they have lots of spas and treatment for the horses which is very good, especially if they have an injury."

Lor enjoyed an impressive beginning to his training career with 130 wins across his first two seasons, though the pace has slowed this term with 33 wins.

"After the last two season's everyone said 65 winners again, but you cannot always get 65 winners; when your horses' ratings are going up it becomes very hard," Lor said.

"Also, the new horses come in and you can't push them too hard, so you have to take it step by step, very slowly and then if they come up healthy and sound, then they should run good."

Lor also confirmed the retirement of Mr Stunning following Sunday's Group 1 victory, his third at that level and 12th win from 30 starts for earnings of HK$60,843,100.

"He'll go to Living Legends--we're just waiting for a flight to Australia," Lor said.

Wednesday morning's nine-race card at Happy Valley kicks off at 6:45 a.m. ET / 3:45 a.m. PT with the Class 4 Tai Hang Handicap (2200m).

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