Two-day extravaganza step in right direction
It is interesting that Dubai is looking at the idea of turning the World Cup meeting into a two-day affair.
Of course, Dubai has already changed its event radically in the past two years by adding the two-month racing carnival to what was previously a one-off day like Hong Kong's international events.
Now thought is being given, among other ways to build the carnival, to making the highlight fixture into two highlight nights, and the same thing is at least being looked at down at Sports Road.
If there is anything lacking in the Hong Kong International Races (HKIR) in December, it is an atmosphere that can only be built over longer than a single race meeting. Top horses bob up for a day then disappear like a dream awoken.
Hong Kong will never be able to enjoy the week-on-week racing carnivals of other jurisdictions, with matches and rematches between individual horses building excitement towards a final showdown.
But there's some thought that one high-grade meeting to whet the horseplayers' appetite for a second is not a terrible idea. And December might not be the time. Now that spring is starting to open up more international interest with the Champions Mile as well as the QE II Cup, perhaps that could be turned into a week with two separate international meeting?
While on the QE II, trainer Tony Vasil is apparently still pushing for Dubai Duty Free winner Elvstroem to come to Hong Kong instead of straight to the UK, though the Dubai win probably did the necessary anyway as far as his stallion prospects.
Jockey Nash Rawiller can take a lot of credit for the way the race was run and won after assuring rival jockeys that Elvstroem was an extremely fast leader and hinting they would be tactically foolish to take him on. As a result, Elvstroem crossed from gate 14, enjoyed a trot in the lead then sprinted home too fast to be caught - not unlike the recent Gold Cup win by Perfect Partner.
Rawiller will have trouble getting away with that line again but he got away with it when it mattered.