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Hong Kong International Day

THIS Sunday is Hong Kong International race day. It features four massive Group 1 races across a 10-race card. Some of the world’s top trainers, jockeys and horses will assemble for a very entertaining day of viewing. Race 1 kicks off at 3.25pm AEST, with the first of the Group 1s at 5pm AEST.

Below is my take on the big ones.  

Race 4. The Longines Hong Kong Vase 2400 m  

Glory Vase (2) is the current short priced favourite to take out the staying contest. He was a dominant winner of this race in 2019, putting away his nearest rival by 3.5 lengths. This Deep Impact entire loves the mile and a half trip – he has won three times from five attempts at the distance. His 5th of 15 in the Japan Cup last year, only 1.8L behind the mighty Almond Eye reads nicely on the CV for this. He has been close at Group 1 and 2 level in his most recent two starts, and the space between runs has been no issue in the past so should be fine again. Moreira on board from gate 7 in a small field should allow every possible chance.  

Pyledriver (1) is a four-year-old on the way up and is the logical danger to the favourite, as the market suggests. He is trained out of Great Britain by William Muir, who has a very strong opinion of the horse. His two latest starts (4/6/21 and 13/11/21) have resulted in narrow victories, including the Group 1 Coronation Cup – which is of course excellent form for this.  

Reliable Team (6) is one of the local contenders in the field and shouldn’t be disregarded despite the huge odds (currently 41/1). While he doesn’t run to his best on every occasion, he can make a fist of it at decent odds on his day. His last two runs have been solid, including a win at Group 2 level. The only other time we have seen him over this longer trip resulted in a surprise third at massive odds – so for those playing exotics, Reliable Team may provide the value.  

Our best bet: Glory Vase win $2.25 

Race 5. The Longines Hong Kong Sprint 1200 m 

There are two key form races for this event – one out of Hong Kong (G2 Jockey Club Sprint), the other from Japan (G1 Sprinters Stakes). 

Lucky Patch (5) comes from the local form race and deserves his shot at this, following two nice wins at his most recent outings. Last start he was ridden perfectly and was presented at the right time to win. On that occasion he did have to maintain momentum despite being shifted out by a wayward runner half way down the straight, so he arguably could have won by a bit more. Purton takes the ride, which is an obvious plus. He needs to overcome a slightly sticky gate (9), but given his versatile running style and the gun hoop in the saddle it shouldn’t prove a big issue.  

Pixie Knight (2) was a dominant two length winner last start in Japan at Group 1 level, and looks the pick from that form race. He turned the tables on Resistencia (12) there. The latter galloper also takes her spot here, so the battle continues. Danon Smash (3) also comes out of that Group 1 – as he did last year on his way to victory in this same event.  

Naboo Attack (8) is an ex-Aussie galloper who has been going very well since moving to Hong Kong. He was excellent from too far back last start behind Lucky Patch. He didn’t have a lot of luck in his two runs prior to that. His running style lends itself to these sorts of results, but he wouldn’t surprise at the double figure odds if the runs come at the right time.  

Our best bet: Lucky Patch win $7  

Race 7. The Longines Hong Kong Mile 1600 m 

Golden Sixty (1) comes here off a very impressive first up win. After jogging past the back half of the field down the straight, the Jockey did have to ask for an effort to get past the leaders. When asked for that extra effort though, he found what was needed as he always seems to. 18 wins from 19 starts says it all for this Hong Kong star. He is expected to make it back-to-back Hong Kong Miles on Sunday. A touch of luck may just be needed in the straight from barrier 2, given he generally gets back in his runs.   

Waikuku (4) found form again last start – he put in a game effort to run second to Golden Sixty by 0.75 lengths. This Harbour Watch gelding has performed well in this event in the past without winning. He was 4th in 2020, and missed by just half a length to run second in 2019. Another good showing can be expected. 

Indy Champ (3) is rarely far away at the highest level in Japan. Most recently he finished 4th behind Gran Allegria in the G1 Mile Championship. Before that he finished 4th, but just 0.8 lengths off Danon Kingly (2). Two years ago, Indy Champ was well fancied to win this event, but things didn’t work out that day. 7 wins from 15 starts at this trip reads strongly, and barrier 6 will provide an ideal run-in transit.  

The race appears to drop off in quality beyond these. 

Our best bet: The $1.60 currently on offer for Golden Sixty is nice enough to boost some Sunday multis. 

Race 8. The Longines Hong Kong Cup 2000 m 

This looks the most open race of the day, with plenty of chances.  

Lei Papale (11) has 6 wins from 9 starts, which includes a four length Group 1 victory last April. Her last three runs have all been defeats, but without being disgraced. She ran 3rd to Chrono genesis, who was in the betting in the Arc de Triomphe this year (but failed to figure after not having much luck from a wide draw). From barrier 3, Soumillon can secure a nice run on speed, which should have her figuring in the finish. 

Hishi Iguazu (4) worked through his grades nicely, stringing together four wins in a row. That run came to an end at Group 1 level in the Tenno Sho last start at the end of October. He was not disgraced in that event however – he finished 5th of 16 at massive odds. That was first up after eight months off, so fitness levels should be stronger now to make a play at decent odds. Barrier 12 is an obvious concern, but Moreira in the saddle is an equally significant advantage. He normally likes to sit midfield or closer – if he can find some cover around midfield then he could upset at a price.  

Dubai Honour (8) heads over from Great Britain, trained by William Haggas and will be ridden by Tom Marquand. Two strong group 2 wins in France, followed by a narrow group 1 defeat at royal ascot has him short in the market. From barrier 7 he is likely to be afforded every possible chance and should be in the finish.  


Bolshoi Ballet (10) was 4th to State of Rest (2021 Cox Plate winner) in the Saratoga Derby. He then was only fair in his latest two starts. He comes back from 2400 m to 2000 m though now – a distance where he became a Group 1 winner. This Northern Hemisphere three-year-old from the Aiden O’brien yard could represent some value for exotics.    

Our best bet: A two bet strategy – Lei Papale win $8 / Hishi Iguazu win $21 (75% / 25%) 


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