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Valley Favors Front Speed, Sha Tin Favors Closers
Happy Valley with it's tight turns constantly favors horses who get early position in their races. The ability to get over to the rail and save ground around the tight turns at the valley is key to gaining a placing. The adverse effect is that horses who are hung wide around the turns will inevitably lose ground and these trips usually make for an out of the money finish.
Look for horses with good gate speed when handicapping at "The Valley", it is usually best to eliminate horses with outside draws who lack any sort of early or tactical speed to gain position. These horses will most likely have too much running to do early and will then lack a needed stretch kick. Inside draws are quite favorable and you will see many horses with inside draws win races at the valley.
Adversely, Sha Tin with its sweeping wide turns usually favors horses that close from out the back. Horses are generally able to make one late kick and often gain a placing or a win. The percentage of winners on the engine (front end) is quite low at Sha Tin. Post position means little at Sha Tin, with horses drawn outside winning a substantial amount of races. More focus should be placed on the ability of the horse and jockey and less on post draw at Sha Tin. Most front runners can be eliminated from serious win consideration unless they are highly talented or the race lacks decent pace setters.
Learning the difference in winning running styles at Sha Tin & Happy Valley should allow you to handicap more efficiently. Remember that certain horses will excel at either the valley or sha tin. There are few horses which can handle both tracks as effectively.
Look for fading front runners that switch from Sha Tin to the speed favoring valley. Look for fast closers at Happy Valley who when switch to Sha tin, they will no doubt appreciate those wide turns. by Kerry Zangara
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