Irish classic winner Kastoria has maintained a low profile this week but claimed significantly more prominence with her final breeze on the turf track yesterday, under the guidance of big-race maestro Michael Kinane.
The angular chestnut filly, who will contest the HK$14 million Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase, looked comfortable as she strode off the back straight and quickened up to clock 57.5 seconds for 800 metres, improving in the second half in 25.0 seconds.
Trainer John Oxx quickly expressed his satisfaction with the workout, especially against the background of a disappointing performance last start when eighth to Collier Hill in the Canadian International at Woodbine on October 22.
'The ground was too testing in Canada,' Oxx said. 'It is the end of the year and she came home a bit down in the dumps, but she recovered well so that is why we are here. There must be a little question mark about how she will perform, but we are here to try to earn some prize money.'
Fellow Irish raider Scorpion (Vase) looks like the fresh horse on the scene, having had only two races over the past year as a result of a pastern injury which took time to heel.
Scorpion was beaten under trying circumstances in the Breeders Cup Turf last start but there was no arguing about his general condition of health as he did pacework on the all-weather track, the final 400m marginally better than evens (29.3).
The final breeze-up of local hero Vengeance Of Rain [Cup] was not to be missed. Anthony Delpech let the Zabeel gelding brush down 400m on the all-weather track in 23.3 seconds and never let the powerful six-year-old off the bridle at any stage. His Cup rival Growl, from the David Hayes' yard, again had a solid hit-out, clocking 24.4 seconds for his final 400m.
'His work has been great all week and when you travel a horse that is the sort of positive sign you look for,' Hayes said. 'He's done well since arriving here and that's half the battle.'