European view for the Hong Kong International Races
Well I am here again covering the Hong Kong International Race meeting where us racing fans are awash with information – unlike at home in the UK!
Whether that means we find some all or any of the winners is another question entirely, my head is spinning – again, and I sadly suspect I will once again open my wallet to lump on the European contenders only to return home with a metaphorical bloody nose as once again the rest of the World put pour challengers firmly in their places.
Let’s have a look race by race and see what we can find.
Hong Kong Vase
There is little doubt that we do excel with the middle-distance horses as other jurisdictions keep breeding for speed, and with seven of the twelve entries there will be some long faces and an even longer journey home if we fail to take first prize. Talismanic holds Highland Reel on Breeders Cup form, though Aidan O’Brien’s globetrotter won this in 2015 and finished a close up second last year and may well reverse that form at a track we know he loves. I am hoping that Highland Reel can improve again for that run and go out at the top once again before retiring to stud for a life of luxury he fully deserves – if we (Europe) have a winner on Sunday he is the one that seems most likely to take home the prize money.
Talismanic, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
Hong Kong Sprint
Not really a race we expect to win now The Tin Man has been scratched though we do have a couple of French representatives who not only look up against it on form but The Right Man has drawn stall thirteen of thirteen which will not help. He seems better on a softer surface as well but did win at Maisons-Lafitte last time out in a class field though this looks a lot tougher. Signs Of Blessing is decent enough as well and better drawn in five and did win the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville in August last year but was well beaten in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Chantilly last time out when rushed off his feet over the five furlongs metres and arrives here with a bit to prove. Mr Stunning seems to be the best of the home contingent and in my view by far the likeliest winner, but it is going to be an exciting race regardless.
Hong Kong Mile
We have four in here, one from the UK (Lightning Spear), one from France (Karar), and the Aidan O’Brien pair of Lancaster Bomber and Roly Poly. It seemed that they were struggling to decide who was the better of the two until the draw came out, and now that Ryan Moore is on Lancaster Bomber we have to assume he is our best hope. His second places to the likes of Barney Roy and World’s End make good reading but his one win from fourteen starts has to be a worry though he may well land each way bets and place if nothing else.
Hong Kong Cup
I simply have no angle on this race at all. Deauville and War Decree both have form that could see them get involved with plenty of wins between them, Poet’s Word is improving race on race, while Blond Me and Robin Of Navan both look outclassed on paper at least, while French challenger Galingari is a total outsider but did look good to me in his work this week. Neorealism is the big Japanese hope and will go well if back to his best while Werther is the home favourite but I haven’t a clue, which is half of the fun of this sport we all love. I’d rather watch than pick but hope for a big run from Poet’s Word who could yet be the surprise package under Andrea Atzeni who excels in the big races.
Poet's Word, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
Sean’s Tentative Suggestions:
Highland Reel 6.40am UK time Sha Tin Sunday
Mr Stunning 7.15am UK time Sha Tin Sunday
Lancaster Bomber Each Way 7.50am UK time Sha Tin Sunday
Poet’s Word Each Way 8.30am UK time Sha Tin Sunday