Stayer can give Tiley freedom of the Valley
DOUR stayer Freedom Reigns (Nap) will appreciate his light weight in the second event at Happy Valley tonight and should provide popular Nigel Tiley with a welcome win.
Tiley knows the veteran campaigner backwards and came within a head of victory two starts back when thundering home over 2,200 metres at Sha Tin, but they just failed to peg back Miss Piggy.
His one start since was over 1,800 metres and that is short of Freedom Reigns' preferred journey.
While the Miss Piggy form alone is not that exciting, the seven-year-old stayer's earlier career efforts suggest he is well up to winning this six-runner Classes Two and Three event over the extended trip of 2,400 metres.
Last season at huge odds Freedom Reigns finished second to the excellent Romantic Tango over 2,200 metres and earlier recorded victories over the likes of Tarnside Turbo.
He has had horses like Wonderful World behind him in the past and ran up to decent stayers like Clear City and Son's Saloon.
Freedom Reigns has also gone particularly well round Happy Valley in the past and that is clearly a prerequisite for a Nap at the city track.
Although there are only six runners involved, it is a race that does not lack interest.
There are only two Class Two horses involved, topweight Able Quest and Hongkong Spirit.
Able Quest ran a solid race at his last start when a running-on fourth over 1,800 metres to E Treasure in a blanket finish. But there must be reservations about him running out a strong 2,400 metres particularly with his whopping weight of 140 pounds.
He must, therefore, give 24 pounds to bottomweighted Freedom Reigns who has competed successfully in as good company - if not better - than Able Quest in the past. It seems a tall order.
Hongkong Spirit has gone out at odds of 99-1 at his last couple of starts and though this is easier - and he has Tony Cruz on top - he still has it to do. Again, he is unknown over this more extreme Valley trip.
The clear and obvious danger to Freedom Reigns is the Bruce Hutchison-trained Spirits Bay, who relishes a trip and is completely at home at Happy Valley.
He landed the P & O Cup here last season over this trip and then got up to win by a head at Sha Tin last time over 1,800 metres. Due to the combined conditions of this race, Spirits Bay comes into it very well and, with Basil Marcus up, must be there.