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By Darren Winningham | Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Longines Hong Kong International races week kicks off with the Longines International Jockeys Challenge on Wednesday 5 December at Happy Valley.

This tight turning circuit can favour leaders – however, those who make their move prior to the turn seem to be able to slingshot into the race and motor out wide.

Australia will be represented by Hugh Bowman in the International Jockeys Series with the locals being represented by Zac Purton, Karis Keetan, Vincent Ho and Matthew Poon. Great Britain has Ryan Moore and Silvestre de Sousa at the track looking for victory. France has Mickael Barzalona.

Ireland has Colin Keane in the saddle representing them whilst Christophe Lemair and Yutaka Take will represent the Japanese. Javier Castellano rounds out the dozen jockeys in the Longines International Jockeys Challenge representing the USA.

This night is always a spectacular event. The Longines International Jockeys Challenge is held on races 4, 5, 7 and 8 on the program. I usually love staying up and watching all the races but I won’t be staying up watching on TV this year – I will be trackside amongst the spectators and officials and I’m excited to be here.

At the end of race 8 when the winning jockeys receives his award the fireworks will light up the night sky at Happy Valley – it is an awesome sight!

The track is rated “GOOD” the weather appears to be fine at this stage and the rail is in the true position for the meeting.

So here goes nothing – WINNO’s review of Longines International Jockeys Challenge night at Happy Valley!

NB: As this form assessment was made prior to race-day, please check final fields and track conditions for any changes on the day.


Race 1

I am going for some value here with the top weight Gloriam (1) who resumed last start and just seemed to run out of condition here over 1800 metres after a short let up. Prior to that start he had won a barrier trial over 1200 metres at Sha Tin and despite drawing wide here I think he may be competitive. The wide barrier does concern me as last start he did lead from barrier 1 – maybe this start he can settle in behind the speed before thundering home late.

Zac Purton rides Wonderful Tiger (5) and on his recent efforts looks the one to beat. He is third up here and was given a wonderful ride last start by Purton over the mile to just be beaten by 0.3 lengths. He will probably start the favourite – but he deserves this tag.

Best Effort (5) has had several starts here without much luck. He rounds out the placings for mine.

If you like to play wide Kwaichung Brothers (8) and Lucky Storm (10) both look like genuine chances that could sneak a place.

Lucky Storm (10) will be ridden by Alexis Badel and despite still being a maiden after 12 starts could show up here from a nice barrier.

Selections: 1-5-3-10 rough chance 8


Race 2

Peace On Earth (7) has drawn the rails and this could assist him in leading or holding a prominent position throughout the run. All three career wins have been at Happy Valley and he comes off a nice win here three weeks ago when he was well rated by Umberto Rispoli who stays aboard him again for this race.

Raichu (2) is another nice mount for Zac Purton. He has drawn well and appears to be better placed over 1200 metres. I think the extra distance may assist him in being competitive in this race.

Royal Chocolate (3) may just be the sweet taste of success for trainer W. So and jockey Silvestre de Sousa. He is second up here and has performed well in the past second up.

The topweight Diamond Legend (1) has won here before and good be a reasonable price in the markets.

Selections: 7-2-3-1 rough chance 13


Race 3

I think the top four here in the field look like they have the race between them.

The topweight is Good Companion (1) to be ridden by Dylan Mo. He has four career wins – all of them here at Happy Valley.

Split of a Second (2) won here over this distance seven weeks ago. He has not started since that run and was sent around in a barrier trial at Sha Tin where he acquitted himself well. Barrier 11 will pose a problem here around this circuit.

Hard Promise (3) is third up here and despite never winning here at the track his last two starts at Sha Tin show some promise – maybe a genuine each way knock out chance.

The Createth (4) is trained by John Moore and he has booked Hugh Bowman for the ride. This runner has had his last three starts at this track and distance and I think in each of them he could be considered unlucky – maybe the Bowman factor can see a change of luck for this runner.

Selections: 1-3-4-2 rough chance 10


Race 4 - Longines International Jockeys Challenge – First Leg

Hugh Bowman rides Mr Right (3) here for Peter Ho. Mr Right loves 1000 metres, he has drawn well, and I think gives Bowman a genuine chance to kick off the first leg with a win for Australia (biased I know).

Ryan Moore is aboard Lunar Zephyr (6) who is drawn barrier 1. He does normally race well on the speed or in the lead. I think Moore will take advantage of the great barrier and surge forward and try and keep the other runners at bay over the final 100 metres.

Special Stars (8) is an interesting runner from the John Size yards. He has had only one career run here in Hong Kong and to be fair was drawn wide, had no luck and still managed to be competitive on debut. I liked the run to be honest and think that a month between runs will probably see this runner race well. The only drama is barrier 12 – he may have to go back and be ridden for luck.

Super Eighteen (4) has drawn poorly as well but local Hong Kong star Vincent Ho rides this track well – this alone means he must be considered.

Selections: 3-6-8-4


Race 5 - Longines International Jockeys Challenge – Second Leg

This is another tough race.

Exceptional Desire (3) gets the nod here. Drawn in barrier 5 with two career wins both here at Happy Valley! Ryan Moore the UK Magician aboard – there is a lot to like about this runner.

The one right down the bottom Young Glory (12) has drawn the rails and is only lightly raced. He is trained by David Ferraris – this is his first start at Happy Valley. Last start he ran over 1800 metres at Sha Tin and I think despite the great run he is a genuine mile horse. Back to the mile for this run I expect him to be very competitive here.

Marvel Joy (6) is trained by Casper Fownes who looks to have a solid team of runners here for this meeting. Hugh Bowman has drawn this runner. The barrier is a little wide – however, will be running on late out wide.

Clear Choice (7) must get some attention as well. He will be ridden by the French rider Mickael Barzalona – however, he may need some luck from barrier 10.

Selections: 3-12-6-7 rough chance 10


Race 6

The favourite will be the John Size trained Country Star (3) to be ridden by Hugh Bowman. He has been wonderful in all three career starts here in Hong Kong and deserves to be a short price. I just think barrier 9 will test him and I have looked elsewhere for some value.

Zac Purton is aboard Beauty Loyal (9) who has drawn nicely in barrier 4. He does not win out of turn however, with the nice draw I am gambling on this one to get the chocolates.

Eighty Eighty (4) is a massive rough chance to blow these favoured runners out in my opinion. He has won two career starts here at the Valley and has drawn midfield in barrier 5. Watch out for this runner at absurd odds!

Just Not Listening (11) - I do think that this John Moore runner to be ridden by Chad Schofield is a great each way chance. His recent three runs at Sha Tin has all been very solid.

Selections: 9-3-4-11 rough chance 8


Race 7 - Longines International Jockeys Challenge – Third Leg

Curling Luxury (9) won here last start in dominant fashion and I really cannot see why cannot go on with it here. Javier Castellano from the USA has a serious chance to post some points here in this race and grab a win in the Longines International Jockeys Challenge Series. All four career wins of Curling Luxury have originated here at Happy Valley.

All You Know (2) also managed a win here last start and genuinely loves this track and the distance. Silvestre de Sousa, who represents the UK, should be able to pick up some points here with this ride.

Sparkling Sword (1) is always competitive here in these class of race and despite the top weight of 60.5 kilograms should be in the finish from a nice barrier – barrier 3.

Selections: 9-2-1-7


Race 8 - Longines International Jockeys Challenge – Fourth Leg

The Longines International Jockeys Challenge series may come down to this last leg – with many of the jockeys a chance of taking out the prestigious victory in 2018!

I like Electric Lightning (10) who won here last start in a Class 4 event with a massive weight with Douglas Whyte in the saddle. He goes up in grade but down in weight and based on that victory I give this one a great each way chance.

The Ryan Moore mount Bank On Red (6), trained by John Size, has been well tipped around the place. I am not too certain with the quick backup that he can even fill a place – plus he has barrier 11 to contend with.

The Judge (3), another solid runner from the Casper Fownes team, looks well placed at the mile. Forget his last start performance at Sha Tin and go on the great from he has displayed here at the Happy Valley track.
Super Form (2) could be a runner to race forward from barrier 4 and I think he too the mile.

Selections: 10-3-2-6 rough chance 12


So now I have done all four races in the 2018 Longines International Jockeys Challenge. Who will be the leading rider and victor on the night????

Look if Ryan Moore can manage a place in the last race of the series, he should take out the winning prize of $500,000 (Hong Kong).

If Moore cannot jag a place, we may see a triple dead heat between Hugh Bowman (Australia), Ryan Moore (UK) and Javier Castellano (USA).

Now won’t that set the story writers looking into the history of the Series about that!


Race 9

Well it is the last race – the get-out stakes – with a horse is appropriately named Good Omen (11). Let’s hope he brings us luck in the last race with Douglas Whyte aboard from barrier 2 so we are all cashed up for the massive Longines International Races on Sunday at Sha Tin! He won here last start some 6 weeks ago – has had a recent barrier trial – he will do me!

Super Chic (3) was a last start winner here as well and goes up in weight and distance – I can see no drama here.

David Hall trains Victory Boys (2) to be ridden by Zac Purton. He has five victories at Happy Valley where he just seems to grow and extra leg. He has performed well at the distance as well and with Zac in the saddle and may Aussies on course to watch these races they will be looking to him to get this one home in the last!

Red Warrior (5) is another track specialist and will appreciate the 1800 metres. Look for a bold showing punters!

Selections: 11-5-3-2 rough chance 7


Jockeys Challenge

The overall winner on the night for the entire program looks like a battle supreme between Zac Purton and Hugh Bowman.

Quaddie (race 6 to 9)

3,4,9 / 1,2,9 / 2,3,6,10 / 2,3,5,11 - cost is $144 to $1

Treble (race 7 to 9)

1,2,9 / 2,3,6,10 / 2,3,5,11 - cost is $48 to $1

More articles

The Longines International Jockeys Challenge is held on races 4, 5, 7 and 8 on the program. I usually love staying up and watching all the races but I won’t be staying up watching on TV this year – I will be trackside amongst the spectators and officials and I’m excited to be here.
The Longines International Jockeys Challenge is held on races 4, 5, 7 and 8 on the program. I usually love staying up and watching all the races but I won’t be staying up watching on TV this year – I will be trackside amongst the spectators and officials and I’m excited to be here.
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