Sir Michael sets Greek Dance on course for HK Vase

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 October, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 October, 1999, 12:00am

Royal trainer Sir Michael Stoute has top-quality performer Greek Dance lined up for the Hong Kong Vase.

Sir Michael has supported the International Races in the past and said: 'A couple of other possibilities have not worked out as I would have liked and we are now favouring Greek Dance.

'He came out of the Arc well and he is now in the Dubai Champion Stakes and that will ultimately determine our final plans. But he is down for the race.' This Saturday's Dubai Champion Stakes at Newmarket has no lack of Hong Kong interest and will play a part in determining the lineup for the Hong Kong Cup and Vase in December.

For Almushtarak, a return to Hong Kong is on the cards if he does well in the big Group One clash.

The David Platt-owned Handsome Ridge, who was unplaced here last year, is also involved, along with Hong Kong-owned Gold Academy if the 13 runners stand their ground.

Gold Academy is raced by George E.K. Teo and trainer Richard Hannon has also expressed a distinct interest in another trip to Hong Kong.

But Greek Dance is the most interesting as he ran a game sixth to the brilliant Montjeu in the Arc and was second to Royal Anthem in the Group One Juddmonte International at York.

He was a winner in August of a Group Three race at Haydock Park - the Rose Of Lancaster Stakes - and fifth in last year's Epsom Derby to High-Rise, whom he meets again in the Champion Stakes.

Said Sir Michael: 'He's a damn good horse but he's run into one or two just a little bit better on the day in the really big ones.

'I'd like to see him run in Hong Kong because I think he would just about win it if he was at his best.' Meanwhile, the Jockey Club has been influential in further moves which could lead to racing becoming once more meaningful in mainland China.

Prior to 1949, it was a consuming passion for millions in Shanghai and other ports and cities and, as the millennium approaches rapidly, there are clear signs of a major comeback.

In Beijing, Jockey Club director of corporate development Kim Mak announced further support for equestrianism in China and also the country's first national Flat race championship - on October 23 - which will feature horses from 15 provinces, cities, autonomous regions and the PLA.