2017 Hong Kong International Races

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Joao Moreira

The world-famous Hong Kong International Races take place, on Sunday December 12th. They comprise of four G1 contests, in which some of the very-best racehorses on the planet will be competing. As usual, there will be significant UK and Irish interest. Here is the low-down, on this quartet of top-class encounters…

Hong Kong Vase

For 4 year olds and upwards

Distance: 1m3f205y

Purse: 16,500,000 EUR

There are 3 British-based horses set to compete in the Vase, but neither Ralph Beckett’s Chemical Charge, Sir Michael Stoute’s Smart Call, or Richard Hannon’s Danehill Kodiac look likely to appear in the winners enclosure. Aidan O’Brien’s Highland Reel is a genuine contender however and won this race in 2015. He has already won the Coronation Cup and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes this year and is a G1 champion in 3 continents.

“He knows he’s back here in Hong Kong, and he likes this place,” says travelling head lad Pat Keating.

However, only two horses have won the race twice. They are Luso (in 1996 and 1997) and Doctor Dino (2007 and 2008).

Olivier Peslier is the most successful jockey, with no less than four Hong Kong Vase wins under his belt. His victories came in 1995, 1999, 2007 and 2008.

There are three trainers who have scored two victories in the Hong Kong Vase. They are Elie Lellouche (1995 and 2003, Clive Brittain (1996 and 1997) and Richard Gibson (2007 and 2008).

Hong Kong Vase Draw

Highland Reel (8)

Talismanic (1)

Tiberian (9)

Chemical Charge (4)

Danehill Kodiac (10)

Eagle Way (5)

Max Dynamite (2)

Tosen Basil (7)

Gold Mount (12)

Helene Charisma (6)

Smart Call (11)

Kiseki (3)

Hong Kong Mile

For 4 year olds and upwards

Distance: 7f210y

Purse: 23,000,000 EUR

David Simcock hurls Lightning Spear into the Mile, but it’s the pair of Aidan O’Brien horses that most punters attention will be on. Roly Poly took some time to really get going in 2017 but the mare ended up scooping the Falmouth Stakes, the Prix Rothschild and the Sun Chariot Stakes.

Lancaster Bomber has failed to win on 12 occasions, since shedding his maiden tag at Leopardstown well-over a year ago. That won’t prevent the War Front colt from enjoying market-support, however, as he was runner-up in the St James’s Palace Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Each-way backers should take note! Others in contention include Helene Paragon, Beauty Only, Seasons Bloom and Yasutoshi Ikee’s Satono Aladdin.

The race has been a fixture since 1991, although it used to be known as the Hong Kong International Bowl. It was a significantly shorter contest back then, with only 1400m being covered by the horses. The distance was increased to its current level in 1999 – the year that the Hong Kong Mile was awarded G1 status. The record winning time is held by the Roberto-sired Good Ba Ba. Out of a dam named Elle Meme, he won in a time of just 1.32.71 in 2008. He is also the only horse to have won 3 times.

Hong Kong Mile Draw

Beauty Only (12)

Helene Paragon (2)

Contentment (8)

Satono Aladdin (4)

Joyful Trinity (10)

Lightning Spear (1)

Seasons Bloom (5)

Horse Of Fortune (13)

Karar (3)

Beauty Generation (9)

Sichuan Dar (6)

Western Express (7)

Lancaster Bomber (11)

Roly Poly (14)

Hong Kong Cup

For 4 year olds and upwards

Distance: 1m1f207y

Purse: 25,000,000 EUR

This renewal features a strong British and Irish contingent and the form of Sir Michael Stoute’s Poet’s Word speaks loudest. After winning the Glorious Stakes, at Goodwood, the 4-year-old went on to finish runner-up in both the Irish and British Champion Stakes. While he never looked like troubling Cracksman, at Ascot, Poet’s Word did beat Highland Reel, Brametot and Barney Roy in that race so he commands respect.

Deauville and War Decree both represent Aidan O’Brien, while Blond Me (Andrew Balding) and Robin Of Navan (Harry Dunlop) are also expected to go into the stalls. The one that punters are sweetest about is Werther, however. He’s already a Hong Kong Derby, QEII Cup and Hong Kong Gold Cup champion and will take all the beating on Sunday.

The Hong Kong Cup was first run in 1988 and the original race-distance was just over a mile. In the early days, the contest was only open to horses from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

Frankie Dettori has ridden 3 winners while Saeed bin Suroor shares the honour of training the most champions with Anthony Cruz (both have had a brace of successes). Famous horses that have won this race include First Island, Alexander Goldrun, Snow Fairy and A Shin Hikari.

Hong Kong Cup Draw

Deauville (2)

Neorealism (1)

Poet’s Word (12)

Werther (3)

Staphanos (8)

Secret Weapon (11)

Robin Of Navan (4)

Garlingari (6)

Time Warp (5)

War Decree (7)

Blond Me (10)

Smart Layer (9)

Hong Kong Sprint

For 4 year olds and upwards

Distance: 5f212y

Purse: 18,500,000 EUR

First run in 1999, this was the world’s richest 1km race up until 2006. It is the final leg of the Global Sprint Challenge series.

Falvelon, Silent Witness, Sacred Kingdom, Lord Kanaloa and Aerovelocity have all won the race twice. Both of Aerovelocity’s wins came with Zac Purton in the saddle.

It’s never been a race that British and Irish trainers have had much success in and this year won’t be any different. Horses seen as having a realistic chance of winning include Mr Stunning, Thewizardofoz, Lucky Bubbles and Amazing Kids.

Hong Kong Sprint Draw

Mr Stunning (4)

Lucky Bubbles (1)

Peniaphobia (9)

Thewizardofoz (8)

Amazing Kids (6)

Not Listenin’tome (10)

Signs Of Blessing (5)

The Right Man (13)

Blizzard (3)

D B Pin (12)

Stormy Liberal (11)

Let’s Go Donki (7)

Once In A Moon (2)

Betting With RaceBets

We already have live ante-post markets, for all 4 Hong Kong International races. Make sure you get your bets on, in plenty of time!

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