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A hot nine-race card at Happy Valley (Hong Kong) on Wednesday morning is the stage for an attempted four-timer when Hardly Swears (125 lbs) returns to action in the Class 3 Queen's Road East Handicap (1200m).
Jimmy Ting's lightly-raced charge completed a hat-trick when successful at the course and distance in late November and returns refreshed for the fray.
"After his three wins I gave him a break and he's still in good form - perhaps not at his top, but still in good form," the handler said.
The 5-year-old was unplaced on debut late last term but has been a revelation since with his three unblemished wins, all under Keith Yeung who retains the ride.
The All Too Hard gelding was raised seven points for his latest score and lines up off a career high mark of 70. That does not faze Ting, who is pleased to see his game charge draw the inside berth in the field of 12.
"I think he still has a very good chance - he has a good draw (one), everything is fine with him and we're hoping he can win again," he said.
"We'll look at 1400 meters later. We'll see how he does in this race, and, if he can still win, we'll stick with that winning formula. The horse is still improving and he has a very good heart. He will always run very hard, he tries his best."
Race 7 at Happy Valley, Hong Kong on Wednesday, January 29 - Post 8:45 AM
|2||Ethiopian Yarn||66-1||Lyle Hewitson
|7||Prance Dragon||17-2||Derek Leung
|A T Millard|
|9||Most Beautiful||80-1||Blake Shinn
|C S Shum|
|K W Lui|
|A S Cruz|
|1||Hardly Swears||5-1||Keith Yeung
|6||Aurora Pegasus||11-4||Zac Purton
|8||Home Made||80-1||Matthew Poon
|Y S Tsui|
|5||Superb Daddy||12-1||Ben So
|4||Salto Olimpico||80-1||Vincent Ho
|D J Hall|
|10||Diamond King||80-1||Jack Wong
|T P Yung|
|11||Happy Warrior||12-1||Alexis Badel
Among his rivals is the Caspar Fownes-trained Aurora Pegasus (124 lbs) - the mount of Zac Purton - another hat-trick scorer this term and a solid fourth at the course and distance three weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Reliable Team will attempt to advance along the road to the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) when he lines up in the finale, the Class 2 Tin Lok Handicap (1650m).
Joao Moreira is booked to ride the Frankie Lor-trained 4-year-old for the first time; the course and distance winner was second last start over 1800m at Sha Tin, behind Chefano and ahead of fellow Classic Series aspirants such as Enjoying and Super Oasis.
The competitive nightcap also features three-time course and distance winner High Rev (119 lbs), track record holder Green Luck (130 lbs), Easy Go Easy Win (121 lbs) and Red Desert (119 lbs).
The other Class 2 on the card is the penultimate race, the Stubbs Handicap (1200m), in which the in-form Gentle Breeze (126 lbs) will attempt to secure a fourth win this season.
The 12-runner contest is also set to feature Cue The Music (122 lbs) from the in-form David Ferraris yard. A course and distance winner two starts back, the 4-year-old was second to the talented Voyage Warrior over 1000m at Sha Tin last time.
The nine race action starts at 5:45 a.m. ET / 2:45 a.m. PT with the Class 4 Kennedy Handicap (1200m).
#11 Speedy Missile is winless across five runs in Hong Kong but he has shown steady improvement. He gets the blinkers here first time to sharpen him up and with only 119 lbs on his back, he's going to get his chance. #1 Fairy Twins steps back to Class 4. He's a two-time winner over this course and distance and another win here wouldn't surprise. #3 Shouson broke through last start. Zac Purton retains the ride here and he has drawn to get the right run. #8 Super Winner has mixed his form since setting the track alight in a trial earlier this season. Still, he appears to have ability and the seven day back-up may spark him up.
Race 1: #11 Speedy Missile, #1 Fairy Twins, #3 Shouson, #8 Super Winner
#1 Blooming Spirit narrowly missed two starts ago by a nose and followed that run up with a competitive fourth. He's racing well and retains the services of Joao Moreira which warrants respect. #7 Hidden Spirit will need a race run to suit if he is to rattle home from the tail of the field. Still, although his best runs have come on the dirt he has shown ability on the turf and with even luck he can find himself in the finish. #8 Money Winner has been consistent all season and he has drawn to be in the thick of things here. Me Tsui and Grant van Niekerk had a winner here earlier this year and another here wouldn't surprise. #2 Break Record is next best if he can overcome the wide gate.
Race 2: #1 Blooming Spirit, #7 Hidden Spirit, #8 Money Winner, #2 Break Record
#12 Simply Fluke is winless across seven attempts in Hong Kong. He hasn't been too far away in each, including his latest effort where he rattled home from last to snatch third. He'll need a race run to suit but with only 116 lbs to carry he rates as the leading player. #11 The One is another who is winless. He's down to a competitive mark and his last few runs have displayed significant improvement. #10 The Show has narrowly missed in his last two, placing in each. He's in excellent form and the veteran of 70 starts is a seven-time winner, three of which have come over this course and distance. #9 Master Albert has been consistent all season and it won't be too long until he is rewarded.
Race 3: #12 Simply Fluke, #11 The One, #10 The Show, #9 Master Albert
#6 Golden Glory came agonizingly close last start, finishing second under the urgings of Silvestre de Sousa. The three-time British champion jockey retains the ride here and from the good gate he rates as the one to beat. #5 Super Alliances is looking to snap a run of seconds. He has shown steady improvement across his short career and although he went under as a short-priced favorite last time, he is capable of atoning for that run here. #2 Gunnar got off the mark three starts ago. He has drawn to get the right run under Vincent Ho and he's capable of working his way into Class 3. #12 All Best Friends hasn't been too far away this term and he has a place chance if he can overcome the awkward draw.
Race 4: #6 Golden Glory, #5 Super Alliances, #2 Gunnar, #12 All Best Friends
#5 Tangmere has struggled of late but early on this season he did show some ability when placing third-up under Zac Purton. Interesting addition of gear with the tongue-tie going on and if his breathing does improve, he has a chance to recapture that form and he could be a big price to do so. #7 Cheerful Star got off the mark last start at his 21st attempt. He remains in Class 4 which suits and the retention of Zac Purton from that win warrants respect. #3 Acclaimed Light has been consistent all season. He has drawn well for Neil Callan and his consistency could well be rewarded here. #1 King's Man steps out for leading trainer Ricky Yiu. He's on the cusp of Class 3 and he appears to still have a number of ratings points in hand.
Race 5: #5 Tangmere, #7 Cheerful Star, #3 Acclaimed Light, #1 King's Man
#5 Cinquante Cinq rarely runs a bad race and has only finished outside of the placings on two occasions from seven attempts which includes one win. He arguably should have won more races, having finished runner-up three times and although he has drawn a touch awkward, he does appear to have a number of ratings points left in hand and this is more than winnable. #4 Surrealism is consistent and although he hasn't won, he has shown that it's only a matter of time and with even luck he'll find himself in the finish. #2 Winning Delight has struggled to recapture his heroics of last season when he won on debut but a recent trial at Conghua has indicated that he might be ready to bounce back. He has drawn well and the booking of Zac Purton once more commands respect. #7 Picken is next best.
Race 6: #5 Cinquante Cinq, #4 Surrealism, #2 Winning Delight, #7 Picken
#6 Hardly Swear is looking for his fourth consecutive win at just his fifth start. He has hit the ground since arriving to Hong Kong and as a Class 3 winner already, he rates as the one to beat. #7 Aurora Pegasus notched up the hat-trick two starts ago before finishing fourth at his latest. He can return to form here as he is a proven Class 3 winner previously. #4 Victoriam mixes his form but his brilliant best is easily up to this. He's better ridden cold so if they do get a race run to suit then he's going to be flashing home from the rear under Joao Moreira. #2 Prance Dragon is a course and distance winner. He won't be too far away.
Race 7: #6 Hardly Swears, #7 Aurora Pegasus, #4 Victoriam, #2 Prance Dragon
#9 Amazing Star is looking for his third consecutive win. He was handed an astonishing 14 ratings points for his last win and although this means he faces Class 2 for the first time, he does appear to be up to this level. The wide gate makes things tricky but with Zac Purton sticking aboard it's a solid push around his chances. #7 Cue The Music got off the mark two starts ago over this course and distance. He's an impressive South African import who from the gate should be able to get the right run throughout for Karis Teetan. #2 Gentle Breeze has turned into a revelation this season, winning three of his five appearances this term. He's in-form and although he faces Class 2 for the first time, he's another who appears to be up to this level. #6 Joyful Union is a talent and the inside draw will afford him every opportunity to record back-to-back wins.
Race 8: #9 Amazing Star, #7 Cue The Music, #2 Gentle Breeze, #6 Joyful Union
#11 Red Desert narrowly missed two starts ago over this course and distance and if he reproduces that run here he's going to prove hard to beat. He ran fairly on the dirt last time out but his recent form over 1200m at Happy Valley is imposing. #8 Reliable Team is a course and distance winner already this season and he steps into this off a last-start runner-up effort to Chefano. He's racing well and as a proven performer at the Valley he warrants respect. #10 High Rev mixes his form but his blistering best is brilliant. He's a two-time winner over this course and distance in Class 3 before stepping up to Class 2 which has relinquished two competitive defeats. He can bounce back with the right run. #5 Dances With Dragon can mix it here with the right run.
Race 9: #11 Red Desert, #8 Reliable Team, #10 High Rev, #5 Dances With Dragon
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