Talented mares Deirdre and Viddora may hail from different hemispheres, let alone countries or stables, but they have become close companions as the FWD Champions Day hopefuls travelled together from Dubai and had the Sha Tin quarantine stables to themselves for a week after their arrival.
This has benefited both horses but been especially important for G1 FWD QEII Cup (2000m) contender Deirdre according to Seiko Hashida, daughter of trainer Mitsuru Hashida, who is part of the team supervising the mare’s preparation here in Hong Kong - as she did in Dubai.
“It’s like she (Deirdre) has a big sister here and that’s really helped in keeping her settled,” Hashida said, referring to Viddora, the Lloyd Kennewell trained six-year-old who is aimed at the Chairman’s Sprint Prize.
“Deirdre has always had Vivlos for company when she’s raced away from Japan but Vivlos was retired after Dubai so she needed a new friend. We miss Vivlos but it’s worked out well now. Two V’s, Vivlos and now Viddora,” she said.
Deirdre (JPN) on the All Weather track, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
The five-year-old daughter of Harbinger is preparing for her fourth international run. She finished fourth to Almond Eye in the recent G1 Dubai Turf and was third to Benbatl in that race in 2018. Vivlos, also a mare, was second on each occasion after winning the 1800 metres Meydan feature in 2017.
Deirdre, of course, also travelled to Hong Kong last December and ran an excellent second behind Glorious Forever in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m). Vivlos too made that trip and also had to be content with second prize - behind Beauty Generation in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile.
Deirdre is a seven-time winner in Japan with her best performance coming in the 2017 G1 Shuka Sho (2000m) when she denied fellow FWD QEII Cup entrant Lys Gracieux (who was runner-up to Exultant in last year’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase).
This will be the Hashida stable’s first Champion’s Day runner after having had seven runners at Hong Kong’s December features, which date back to 1997 when Silence Suzuka finished fifth to Val’s Prince in the then G2 Hong Kong International Cup.
Deirdre bids to record the stable’s first winner in Hong Kong and Seiko Hashida reports that the mare has done well after she galloped very strongly on the turf last Friday.
“She’s in very good condition. She’s a good traveller so that’s not a problem with her and she arrived here very well in herself. No problem with eating and drinking since she got here and she worked well this morning (Friday),” she said.
“We just hope she can do her best, run well and come back safe. My father’s coming on Tuesday which is earlier than usual so he will take over then,” she said.
Seven horses have previously won one of the three Champions day feature races after competing in Dubai on World Cup night. They were Fairy King Prawn, Xtension, Presvis, Archipenko, Variety Club, Bullish Luck and Silvano.