Loyal Kinane to skip Derby

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 March, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 March, 2003, 12:00am

Mick Kinane confirmed yesterday that he had been called back to Ireland by champion trainer Aidan O'Brien and would miss the Derby meeting at Sha Tin next Sunday. 'The boss wants me back to ride a couple of his nice three-year-olds in their classic trials at The Curragh next weekend,' Kinane said.

'It's a shame to miss the Derby and the Centenary Sprint Cup next weekend but my first commitment must be to Aidan.'

Kinane gave a gilt-edged display to land yesterday's feature race, the $700,000 Yan Oi Tong Cup with Sunbell and afterwards provided the Australian-bred four-year-old with an encouraging review.

'He's not much to look at but he's a pretty nice little horse - a good galloper,' Kinane said. 'I ended up getting a lovely run just behind the speed and maybe the leader [hot favourite Lucky Owners] went a little bit quick up front.

'Anyway, my bloke found a bit more when I wanted it and I had them well covered before the 200 metres.'

While the Aidan O'Brien stable was missing from the nominations for the $14 million Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth Cup, the stable may well have a powerful presence here for International Day in December.

'I'll be making a strong recommendation that they come with some of their best horses,' Kinane continued. 'I'd love to get here with Hawk Wing for the International Cup [2,000 metres] and High Chaparral for the Hong Kong Vase [2,400 metres]. If those horses got here in top form, they'd give both races a mighty shake.'

Hong Kong is one of the few unconquered frontiers for the mercurial O'Brien, who has rewritten the record books in recent seasons, building up an incredible record in Group One races right across Europe.

His Ballydoyle stable in County Tipperary has started just one runner in Hong Kong - Bach in the 2001 Hong Kong Cup - and failed to beat a runner home behind Agnes Digital.