Drenching rain accompanied the international contenders for Sunday’s LONGINES Hong Kong International Races as they worked at Sha Tin Racecourse this morning, with several going through their paces on the turf track.

LONGINES Hong Kong Vase

Cantered on the all-weather track.
Mikel Delzangles, trainer: “He came back very well after yesterday’s work and had an easy canter on the dirt this morning. His fractions were just as I had hoped. Craig Williams asked him to accelerate slowly and the horse responded well.”

Worked 1200m on the turf (1m 22.8s, last 400m 24.9s)
Alain de Royer-Dupre, trainer: “Ten furlongs would have been ideal for him but I am confident he can do well over 2,400 metres when he meets his conditions. The track should not be an issue and I liked what I saw this morning as he finished a light mile canter on the Turf.”

Cantered on the turf course.
Maureen Haggas, wife of trainer William Haggas, was again on board Dancing Rain for a canter on the turf with stable companion Master Of Hounds (Mile). Asked if the driving rain felt like home, she replied “Yes, but it’s not a feeling that I like very much” as she headed for the shelter of the Quarantine barn.

Cantered in the turf course.
James Fanshawe, trainer: “He just had a steady canter on the turf today. Touch wood, everything has gone well with him, so far as the trip out here is concerned. It’s now just a question of keeping him ticking over until Sunday, as he did all his serious work back home. Jim (Crowley) will ride him tomorrow and Friday, and he might do a little more then, but it won’t be much in terms of work. He ran well in Canada (when second to Joshua Tree) and we’re hoping for the best here.”

LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint

Galloped 800m on the turf in 53.5s (23.3s for final 400m) in company with Lord Kanaloa.
Shogo Yasuda, assistant trainer to Takayuki Yasuda: “She is not tense and has been very relaxed, even in the different surroundings. She doesn’t look like she has lost any weight. She looks nice. Everything has gone well so far.”

Galloped 800m on the turf in 53.5s (23.3s for final 400m) in company with stable mate Curren Chan.

Yasunari Iwata, jockey: “The horse was very relaxed and is in good order. I think his condition is better than when he won the Sprinters Stakes.”

Shogo Yasuda, assistant trainer to Takayuki Yasuda: “He does not like the heat, so this cold weather must suit him very well. He is with Curren Chan which is a good thing for him and makes him settle.”

Cantered on the all-weather track.
Caspar Fownes, trainer: “I really haven’t done anything with him since he had a good gallop on Saturday. We’ll jump him out of the gate tomorrow morning but I’ll want him to be ridden quietly. He’s fit, he’s really well and he doesn’t require any more fast work. He’s ready to rock n’roll.

“It was a great performance in the Jockey Club Sprint considering he wasn’t right at the top of his game for that day and I’d like to think he has two lengths of improvement in him. Time After Time is on the up and ran ours close that day but with the 5lb turnaround I’d like to think we’ll finish in front again.

“The time before, the race was blown at the start in Japan which was heartbreaking but we’ve proved that we can compete with the Japanese sprinters and now we’ve got Sunday to look forward to.”

Lucky Nine on Wednesday, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club

Steady stretch on the all-weather.
Trainer John O'Shea: “I didn't ask her to do too much this morning. She's in great shape and I'm very happy with the way she's progressed over here.

“I don't underestimate the enormity of the task she faces on Sunday. It's tough to come play against the good Hong Kong sprinters on their home turf but this race has always been a target for her and everything's gone pretty much to plan so far.”

Worked over 800m on the turf in 57.8s (last 400m in 24.9s).
Trainer Michael Freedman: “It was testing conditions out there with the constant rain but horse and rider coped very well. He's a fit horse and he strode out strongly over the last 200 metres. It was a nice piece of work to blow the cobwebs out and I'm happy with his progress.

“Joao (Moreira) knows him well and he was thrilled with the way he went. He said the horse feels as good as he has any time leading into his wins at home. Having the extra horses around him in quarantine has really perked him up and physically he's as good as I can have him. Now it's down to the barrier draw which is so important, you just don't want to draw out wide here.”

Super Easy on the Turf Course, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club

LONGINES Hong Kong Mile

Easy canter on the all-weather track.
Andrew Hogan, son and assistant to trainer Tom Hogan: “He’s just cantering this morning in slow work. We were delighted with him on the turf the other day and William (Buick) will ride him tomorrow. He’s in great form, he travelled over well and he’s settled in really well so everything has gone great so far. The weather’s suiting him, it feels like home! He’s just kept improving all the time and we think he’s still improving but we’ll find out Sunday. Longchamp was brilliant, it was testing that day over seven furlongs and they went real quick, so he should have no problem getting the mile here.”

Worked 1200m on the turf in 1m 17.9s (final 400m in 23.5s)
Yutaka Take, jockey: “I was told to breeze for six furlongs, and the workout went well, as planned. I think his movements were very fluid. I think if anything he is a little too relaxed but he is in good form like at home.”

Galloped 800m on the turf in 47.9s (final 400m in 22.1s)
Yoshito Yahagi, trainer; “Since he arrived here, his condition has been improving. He worked very perfectly. It was I think excellent!”

Takahide Ando, Assistant trainer to Yoshito Yahagi: “He did a steady canter before he left for Hong Kong, so we gave him a half gallop only in the closing stage, and it went well as planned. He was very flexible and moved nicely.”

Cantered on the all-weather track.
Francois Doumen, trainer: “We decided not to go to the Mile Championship three weeks ago in Kyoto, because I think that it is too difficult to run two hares at the same time. The filly looks great and she’s traveling well in her canter, even though the track is sloppy. ”

LONGINES Hong Kong Cup

Jean-Jacques Poincelet, assistant trainer to Corine Barande-Barbe: “We decided to stay in the Trotting Ring because it was raining too much and we were there on our own. Cirrus was a bit stiff but that’s ok after yesterday’s piece of work on the turf. He shall go back to the turf tomorrow for an easy canter.”

Cantered on the all-weather track
Michael Figge, trainer: “He’s been in top condition since April. In two of his eight races this season he didn’t run well but in the rest he came back very well. In his last three races, against older horses in Group 1 races, he has put up big performances and I think he will run a really good race on Sunday, and show what he can do in this world class in Hong Kong. This is a nice last race of the season but I’m very happy with him and we have been thinking about this race since he was a really good second in Munich (12 August). His last race in Rome was a test – his best distance is 2200m and he needs speed, so we tested him at the 2000m last time.”

Worked on the turf course (1200m in 1m 22.6s)
Alain de Royer-Dupre, trainer: “She did well this morning on the turf course. She might be slightly underrated in the Cup but I warn you, she is an exceptional filly. Look at her form! The only blip is her 6th place in the Prix Jean Romanet last summer at Deauville, but the course was not good there and she stumbled going out of the stalls, and then injured herself. Last time, she finished third in the Prix de l’Opera (G1) on a ground she did not like at all. But don’t get it wrong, it takes a very good horse to beat the Brits in their backyard like she did in the Falmouth Stakes in July. Giofra has travelled very well to Hong Kong and I am expecting a very good performance from her on Sunday. The horse I fear the most in the Cup is Saonois. I don’t think that his age is a problem. When they are that good, age does not matter, and he should like the way races are run here.” 

Giofra on the Turf Course, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club

International journalist Steve Moran discusses the wet conditions at Sha Tin on Wednesday, video ThoroughbredNEWS