Mile champ told to take on the best in US
Bill Nader, the Jockey Club's new executive director of racing, last night offered every encouragement to trainer John Moore and owner Cornel Li Fook-kwan to pursue the Breeders' Cup Mile opportunity with Champions Mile hero Able One.
Nader, having presided over his first international meeting since succeeding Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, said connections of top Hong Kong horses should not hesitate to challenge US racing.
'The strength of the American horses is undoubtedly on the dirt,' Nader said. 'But a mile on turf is not really their strength.
'When you look at the results of the Hong Kong Mile in December, and the Champions Mile today, anyone can see the Hong Kong milers measure right up.
'I would say to John Moore and Mr Li, don't fear the Americans at a mile on turf - but you should be much more respectful of the Europeans, this is often their race,' he said.
This year's US$2 million Netjets Breeders' Cup Mile will be run at Monmouth Park in New Jersey on October 27. As part of a deal between the Jockey Club and Breeders' Cup Limited, the Champions Mile winner is exempt from the ballot for the event, making it the first Breeders' Cup qualifying race decided outside America.
Breeders Cup Limited's president Greg Avioli attended yesterday's meeting and was highly complimentary of the standard of racing and of the day in general.
'Greg said that there is much they can learn from us on how to stage a big race meeting, so coming from someone as successful as him we must take this as a great compliment,' said chief executive Engelbrecht-Bresges.
Yesterday's QE II attendance was up 20 per cent year on year to 42,842, with betting turnover of HK$938 million being up 11 per cent.