A cracking card to finish off the season.
The internationals are favoured in the Vase with Flintshire back to defend his crown. He come’s here in the form of his life having run second to Treve in the Grand Prix De Saint Cloud in June, winning the Sword Dancer at Saratoga in August and running second to Golden Horn in the Arc in October.
Cannock Chase, Highland Reel, Daryian, Ming Dynasty and Cirrus Des Aigles also travel from Europe with Preferment making his way from Australia.
Michael Stoute’s Cannock Chase won the Canadian International last time out at Woodbine in the hands of Ryan Moore who this time is claimed by Aidan O’Brien to ride Highland Reel, winner of the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington in the summer. Last time out the Irish horse ran third in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley where he had Preferment in behind in ninth. Previously Chris Waller’s charge was a winner of the Turnbull Stakes.
Daryian for Alain Du Royer-Dupre won the Prix Eugene Adam at Massion Lafitte and was second to New Bay in the Prix Guillaume D’Ornano at Deauville in August. The Qatar Racing owned three-year old Ming Dynasty’s will be having only his sixth run of his life (beaten only the once) and comes here on the back of a win in the Prix Du Conseil at Chantilly on very soft ground in October while the veteran Cirrus Des Aigles will be having his sixty-seventh start and comes to Hong Kong for the sixth time.
Wouldn’t you love to see him win it. His magic day’s may be behind him but let’s not forget he won the Prix Ganay in May beating Al Kazeem and if you go back to June 14 you’ll find he had 2 L to spare over Flintshire in the Coronation Cup at Epsom. Age may have caught up with him but his class means he’s still capable of causing an upset and at the prices he’s the each way value.
In the sprint there’s a similar case to be made for Sole Power, now the elder lemon, who arguably had his best run ever when running second behind Lord Kanaloa here two years ago.
In the Mile Ryan Moore will renew his partnership with the Japanese colt Maurice on whom he won the Mile Championship at Koyto. They’ll have to overcome local favourite Able Friend beaten in his prep here a couple of weeks ago however Esoterique may provide Andre Fabre who turned seventy this week a belated birthday present.
In the Cup Free Eagle returning to 10F is the choice.
It may prove better value to take local prices so put PMU on your docket.
The Vase : Cirrus Des Aigles e w (PMU)
The Sprint : Sole Power e w (PMU)
The Mile : Esoterique e w (PMU)
The Cup : Free Eagle win (PMU)
As the year closes attention moves to Hong Kong for their annual big day of top class international racing.
Four Group 1’s take place early Sunday morning with the Vase up first over 1m4f followed by the Sprint over 6 f then the mile and finishing with the centrepiece of the day The Hong Kong Cup over 10 f.
First up in the Vase may represent the best chance for European raiders where a field of 13 go to post with 9 representing Europe, 5 from England and 4 from France. Dunaden returns to defend his crown without the Melbourne Cup he had tucked away last year. His form hasn’t reached the heights of last year due to a combination of slow pace and no luck in running in Europe but he rectified that in the Caulfield Cup when off a strong pace he was able to sit off them and come with a late rattle to pick them off. At Flemington he’d no chance when the race was run at a crawl and connections will hope that a decent pace will bring him into the reckoning again here.
Sea Moon was his conqueror in the Group 2 Hardwicke at Royal Ascot but in the King George in July and again in the Arc in October he failed to bring his form up to Group 1 level.
Marco Botti has got a fine tune out of Joshua Tree winning the Prix Kergolary, a Group 2 at Deauville and after a 1 3/4 l defeat to Orfvere in the Prix Foy (Meandre second) he went to Woodbine to take the Group 1 Canadian International. The Farbe colt didn’t cope with the ground in the Arc.
Dancing Rain the 2011 Oaks winner was third on her comeback run on champions day is an interesting contender. She went to Kyoto in November last year sustaining an injury in the process and having removed the cobwebs at Ascot she must come into calculations. Of the outsiders Pagera catches the eye, second to Siyouma at Woodbine in the EP Taylor who showed her win over Elusive Kate was no fluke in the Sun Chariot.
Chinchon the Singapore Airlines winner was well beaten last time out on his first run since Kranji while Jaguar Mail third in last years Japan Cup could only manage tenth on this years renewal.
Bayrir is the only three year old in the race and in the spring and summer looked an exciting colt in the making culminating in a Secretariat Stakes win on million night at Arlington. A second in the Prix Neil should have set up a good Arc run but ground there was against him. He’s got a nice draw in one and with Patrice “Starcraft” Lemaire on top there is a great chance we’ll see further improvement with the pilot expected to exploit the weight for age to the maximum.
The sprint will stay local with the ex Irish Lucky Nine while in the mile Tom Hogan’s Gordon Lord Byron can fly the flag for Ireland.
In the Cup unfortunately robbed of the participation of Cirrus Des Aigles Saonois winner of the Prix Neil over Bayrir can overcome the local challenge of California Memory and the Australian Alcopop.
Don’t forget to set the clock or at least the tape as it’s on At The Races.
The Vase – Bayrir 11/1 win
The Sprint – Lucky Nine 9/2 win
The Mile – Gordon Lord Byron 10/1 win
The Cup – Saonois 5/1 win
Snow Fairy lit up the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International race series at Sha Tin this weekend when taking the Hong Kong Cup from the locally trained pair, Irian and Packing Winner.
- Hong Kong International Race HERE
Ryan Moore’s mount, in the 10f event, looked to have an awful lot to do when rounding the home turn. Yet she displayed the same devastating turn of foot which so comprehensively hammered the opposition last time out in Kyoto when she took the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup there in November. Having won a pair of Oaks at Epsom and the Curragh in the summer she has now won over 12f, 11f and 10f at the highest level. This weekend’s victory was the seventh run of the year for her having begun in May at Goodwood. Great credit goes to Ed Dunlop for keeping her on the go for so long. Is she the best middle distance turf performer of 2010?
Four Group 1’s in the bag make for a very strong argument having also beaten the boys in this latest encounter.
But then of course there is another filly that may have claims to the title.
This filly began the year with a Group 2 victory over 11f in the Kyoto Kinen Stakes in February and then ran second in the Sheema Classic to John Gosden’s Dar Re Mi, another filly incidentally. In May she took the Group 1 Victoria Mile at Tokyo and before finishing second in the Takarazuka Kinen at Hanshin in June. After a four month break she returned to Tokyo to take the Group 1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) over10f and was then disqualified in the Japan Cup where clearly she was the best horse.
Yes, Buena Vista may well have something to say about who is the best middle distance turf performer of 2010.
It’s not over yet of course as she is due to run in the Arima Kinen on the 26th of December where she will match Snow Fairy’s number of runs of the year. She will again take on Rose Kingdom, the beneficiary of her Japan Cup disqualification. The Arima Kinen is one of the two “All Star” races in Japan. A win here for the four year old would see her collect a third Group 1 this year leaving her one behind Snow Fairy. That second in the Takarazuka Kinen, the other “All Star” race was to Nakayama Festa who then went to Europe to contest the Prix Foy en route to a head second to Workforce in the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe. When you consider the two seconds at top level, in the Sheema Classic and the Takarazuka Kinen and throw in the Japan Cup run, you have to say she has at least matched Snow Fairy’s achievements.
Ryan Moore described Snow Fairy as a machine while Christophe Soumillon has compared Buena Vista with Zarkava. Maybe a girl’s night out in March for the Dubai World Cup will decide who’s the prettiest of them all. Someone should ask Goldikova to the dance. Wouldn’t that be lovely? Off course it won’t be on turf and tapeta may tame them all.
Then there’s the boy’s. John Gosden’s Arlington Million winner, Debussy may try to spoil the chick’s party. Even after the Tenno Sho and the Hong Cup Cup I still think the Million is the best 10f this year. If only Summit Surge, entered in both races, had made it east. Then we’d know.
Pattern Racing - Hong Kong International Race Information HERE
It’s going to be an interesting end to the season at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Four Group1’s to finish off in style culminating in the Hong Kong Cup over 1m2f. It should be a cracker with a good looking field headed by Vision D’Etat having his last hurrah.
It’s the race itself that interests me most. Where will it rank against the top 10f races of this year?
Will it confirm, even in his absence Henry Cecil’s Twice Over as the best 10f horse in the world on turf this year?
If Vision D’Etat wins having been beaten at Newmarket in the Champion Stakes you would be inclined to think so.
However even though his wins at Newmarket and in the Eclipse at Sandown were impressive he was comprehensiously beaten at Leopardstown in the Irish Champion Stakes when finishing third to Cape Blanco.
The time at Leopardstown was fast when run on quick ground while at Newmarket in October it was slow on the good to soft going.
I reckon the Leopardstown race was the best 10f race in Europe this year not just for the manner in which Cape Blanco hammered his stable rival Rip Van Winkle but because the time was so quick.
On the clock the winner would have beaten Sea The Stars by the tightest of short heads in 2009.
The other one that really impressed me this year was on the other side of the pond, the Arlington Million. It was won by Debussy in a time quicker than the Leopardstown race. Prior to the race the Americans were lamenting the European challenge saying the travelling team weren’t Group 1 standard. They couldn’t see their 2009 turf champion, Gio Ponti getting beaten.
I didn’t see that way. Tazeez had brought the Prince of Wales form when just behind Twice Over in third. Gio Ponti went off odds on and travelled like a good thing coming wide off the last bend to hit the front a furlong out. It looked like a glorious run only William Buick had other ideas. In the twenty four hours before the race the Arlington track which had been like a road all week took 18mm of rain. This turned the ground perfect for Debussy who had previously won on similar ground at Maision Laffette when taking the Prix Eugene Adam as a three year old, a Group 2 over 10f in the summer of 2009. Buick knew the engine he was on and the John Gosden team got their tactics perfect when sending Tazeez out as the hair. They knew that Gio Ponti could travel and cruise but they also knew, as Winchester had shown in the Manhattan at Belmont, that collaring Gio Ponti close home would expose his vulnerability. When Buick asked for his effort Debussy responded beautifully bouncing off the juicy ground to nail the champ. The time of the race made it the best 10f race of the year for me. Gio Ponti’s subsequent efforts when landing the Shadwell Turf mile at Woodbine where he looked awesome and his second to Goldikova in the Breeders Cup mile sealed the deal.
It’s a real pity Summit Surge doesn’t go to Hong Kong. Luca’s Cumani’s charge had been an intended runner having finishing fifth in the million. His chance stolen by those 18mm of rain. He had previously beaten Debussy on his favored fast ground in the York Stakes. If he had run I think he would come close on the Sha Tin’s fast surface. That would have brought the Arlington form to Hong Kong. The best form over 1m2f this year.
I won’t begrudge Vision D’Etat should he win, after all it would be his fifth Group 1 of his career but unless it’s quick it won’t beat Debussy in the Million.
Posted in Group 1, Hong Kong, Pattern Racing
Tagged Arlington Million, Buick, Cape Blanco, Debussy, Gio Ponti, Goldikova, Hong Kong Cup, Luca’s Cumani’s, Maision Laffette, Pattern Racing, Prix Eugene Adam, Rip Van Winkle, Sea The Stars, Sha Tin, Summit Surge, Tazeez, Twice Over, Vision D’Etat, William Buick