Tag Archives: Sha Tin

Hong Kong Vase & Mile (G1)

Highland Reel leave the ring at Leopardstown for the Irish Champion Stakes

Highland Reel leave the ring at Leopardstown for the Irish Champion Stakes

Aidan sends Highland Reel and Cougar Mountain east to Hong Kong in a bid to cap an outstanding season. His lead in the Pattern Racing Trainers World Championships is unassailable but more of that in a later blog. His work isn’t finished yet for the year.

In the Vase Highland Reel will go off a short price favourite on a return to the course where he announced himself on the world stage last year when he beat Flintshire here. Since he’s won the King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth Stakes the highlight of the middle distance summer in Europe and then went on to run second to Found in the Arc. He then confirmed his superiority over Flintshire in the Breeders Cup Turf where the opposition jockeys didn’t show him the respect he deserves. He showed them though.

Cougar Mountain in the per parade ring at Leopardstown

Cougar Mountain in the per parade ring at Leopardstown

In the mile Aidan also send an old favourite in Cougar Mountain. He’s always been capable and every now and again he’s shown himself more than that. This course and ground could well bring out the best in him. He won the G2 Joel Stakes at Newmarket over 7f and then ran well at Santa Anita when 8th beaten 4 1/2 L in the Breeders Cup Mile. He’s a big price for this, 64/1 on the Sha Tin tote but he’s well drawn in 7 and he may well belie those odds and with Donnacha aboard he could run into a place and if the opposition show the same respect Highland Reel was shown in Santa Anita it might well be just better than that.


Recommendation: Highland Reel 1/1 win

                                        Cougar Mountain PMU E/W


Hong Kong International Day (Group I)

The last big day on the international stage sees a cracking card at Sha Tin.

The Fugue is all the rage in the Vase coming off a super summer and autumn campaign. A top performance in the Irish Champion Stakes beating Al Kazeem and Trading Leather sent her off favourite in the Breeders Cup Turf where she was collared by the late swoop of Magician. She’ll rightly go off a short price favourite for this as even though there’s some very decent quality animals in this there are none who have the sharp turn of foot that she possesses over the 12 f here. The concern about her however is she’s been on the go for a long time since the Ecplise in July and she might just tire from those excretions.

The German raider Nymphea presents an attractive alternative. She was a Group 1 winner in the Preis Von Berlin where she beat Temida 3 L who previously was a G1 winner herself in the Preis Von Bayern. She ran at Ascot on Champions Day in the Fillies and Mares but didn’t handle the soft conditions. She will like the Fugue relish this quick surface and on the PMU will be available at a decent price.

In the sprint Lord Kanaloa comes back from Japan to defend the sprint title he won last year. He’s since added three G1’s in four outing including last time out in the Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama in September. Like The Fugue he’ll be a short price and again he’s worth taking on. Eddie Lynam sends his two stars Sole Power and Slade Power from Ireland and the latter is preferred based on a good second in the Haydock Sprint Cup which was followed up with a win on Champions Day in the Sprint Stakes. He’s an improving four year old who has acted on the a quick surface before.

The Mile is a tremendous race. Anyone who saw Moonlight Cloud last time out on Arc day in the Prix De La Floret over 7 f will have been completely blown away with the run she produced. At the two furlong pole she was last with Thierry Jarnet looking like he had fallen asleep in the saddle. When he let out some reign she buried the field in a matter of strides. It was an electric turn of foot that could only be described as Arazi style. Prior to that she beat a real high class field in the Jacques Le Marois over the mile at Deauville. There is a concern, a major one, she has travelled for times from France and been beaten every time. Last year in the Breeders Cup Mile she never travelled however she did give Black Caviar’s supporters a serious fright when lunging late to go down a head in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot.

The one that could take her on is Gold Fun. The ex Ger Lyons inmate has proved himself a serious horse since moving east. He ran a beautiful race in the prep here two weeks ago and his trainer Richard Gibson will have him primed for this.

In the final Group 1 the Cup over 10 f there’s another ex Irish inmate who has turned local. From the same stable as Gold Fun Akeed Mofeed was considered a horse of very serious potential when handled by John Oxx as a two year old. Injury curtailed his career at three and he was sold east to run as as a four year old with the Hong Kong Derby as his primary target. He duly obliged. He was disappointing in the QE11 Cup in the spring but has been brought back with three preps for this in the Autumn two of which were over inadequate trips. Last time out he showed his class running wide from the back to be just touched off. In a classy international field he has the capability to see them off giving the locals something special to cheer about.

Recommendations :

Hong Kong Vase : Nymphea PMU E/W

Hong Kong Sprint : Slade Power PMU E/W

Hong Kong Mile : Gold Fun 5/1 win

Hong Kong Cup : Akeed Mofeed 5/1 win

The Tenno Sho (Spring) (Group 1), The Audemars Piguet QE 11 Cup (Group 1), The Prix Ganay (Group 1)

On Sunday as the sun crosses the globe we can follow the Group 1 action from Japan, Hong Kong and France.

The Tenno Sho (Spring) (Group 1) Post Time 7.40 AM GMT

Run over 3200 meters (2 miles) for older horses at Kyoto the “Emperor’s Prize”  is the longest Group 1 on the Japanese pattern calendar. It has attracted an international candidate in the shape of Red Cadeaux from the Ed Dunlop yard. This gelded son of Cadeaux Genereux has turned into a money machine with earnings of over £3 million. £1.2m of that came when he ran a fantastic second last time out in the Dubai World Cup to Animal Kingdom. He never threatened the American horse but he did come form a long way back to mow down all but the winner over a distance well short of his best. This extra 6 f will certainly suit and the quick surface will also be to his benefit.

The winners prize of just short of £1m has to be well within his compass considering prior to Dubai he won the Hong Kong Vase a short head from Jaguar Mail (who opposes here) who was the winner of this in 2010.

He’ll have to overcome the home team led by Gold Ship. As a three year old last year he won the  Japanese 2000 Guineas and St Ledger. He didn’t manage the Derby running fifth but he did take the Arima Kinen (the second richest race in Japan) in December over 15 f the first time he met the older horses.Others to consider are Tosen Ra and Fenomeno.

If Ed Dunlop’s charge can reproduce his Dubai effort then there is a great chance that we will see the first international winner of this prestigious race.

Recommendation : Red Cadeaux 7/1 win

The Audemars Piguet QE 11 Cup (Group 1) Post Time 9.35 AM GMT

Another cracking international contest this time over 10 f. The visitors include Eishin Flash from Japan who was 3 1/4 L off Gold Ship in the Arima Kinen. His best form was in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) over this distance in October when he beat Fenomeno a 1/2 L. Mike De Kock sends his star South African filly Igugu and the ex Irish Treasure Beach. The filly is on a bit of a retrieval mission having left her form at home when three runs in Dubai proved fruitless. Treasure Beach’s trip to Dubai also proved fruitless but there was certainly a glimmer of hope for a return to the form of his three year old career which saw him run second to Pour Mio in the Epsom Derby and win the Irish Derby at the Curragh.

There will undoubtably be a huge spotlight on Saeed bin Suroor’s Sajjhaa representing Goldophin. The boys in blue  will be hopping this filly can end their most horrendous week on a high. She had a hugely successful Dubai carnival where she was unbeaten in four runs the last two at G1 level The Jebbel Hatta and Dubai Duty Free where she beat Mike De Kock’s The Apache both times.

The home team is led by Ambitious Dragon, California Memory and Akeed Mofeed. Ambitious Dragon has never raced outside Hong Kong however he was a winner of the Hong Kong Mile in December and beat California Memory in this race last year. California Memory took the Hong Kong Cup at the international meeting in December.

Akeed Mofeed was one we thought a lot of as a two year old when he was spoken about as a potential superstar. Things didn’t work out for him and he was sold out of the John Oxx yard for reputably $2m. He’s run four times in Hong Kong winning the last two which were local G1’s. Last time out was the Hong Kong Derby open to four year olds that juvenile potential was ignited and the engine we thought was there has finally been switched on.

Expect him to show he’s come of age here.

Recommendation : Akeed Mofeed 5/1 win, Treasure Beach 33/1 ew

Prix Ganay (Group 1) Post Time 2.40 PM GMT

The first European Group 1 of the season is an entirely French affair. Giofra will most likely go off favourite on the pari mutuel. She beat Elusive Kate in the Falmouth Stakes last July at Newmarket and was second to California Memory in December in the Hong Kong Cup. She’d an interrupted prep for the Dubai Duty Free where she finished well 2 1/2 l behind Sajjhaa.

Recommendation : Giofra 5/2 win 

Will the Hong Kong Cup tell us what was the best 10f race of the year?

Hong Kong International Races

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.

Pattern Racing

Pattern Racing