Hong Kong Mile
The Hong Kong Mile is a Group 1 flat horse race in Hong Kong which is open to thoroughbreds aged three years or older. It is run over a distance of 1,600 metres (about 1 mile) at Sha Tin, and it is scheduled to take place each year in mid December.
The race was first run in 1991, and it was originally titled the Hong Kong International Bowl. Its distance was initially set at 1,400 metres. The event's present title and distance were both introduced in 1999, and the following year it was promoted to Group 1 status.
The Hong Kong Mile is one of the four Hong Kong International Races, and it presently offers a purse of HK$20,000,000 (approximately US$2.5 million).
Good Ba Ba on move again as deal sours
Just when the Good Ba Ba saga was looking complete, current trainer Andreas Schutz said yesterday he expected the champion miler to leave his yard again without having a race.
Schutz said Good Ba Ba's owner, John Yuen Se-kit, had been unable to make a meeting scheduled for yesterday morning, so he is awaiting confirmation but is aware that two other trainers have been approached to take the star gelding and Yuen's other two horses. 'I'm still waiting to meet with the owner, but I believe Good Ba Ba will leave very shortly,' said Schutz, who has had the eight-year-old back under his roof for less than two weeks after Good Ba Ba had been with Derek Cruz since his transfer from the German last August.
Schutz, who took Good Ba Ba from the bottom of Class One to his peak as a multiple Group One winner and the top-ranked miler in the world, explained the latest move comes as Yuen has had a change of heart on an agreement he made with the trainer.
'When he came and offered to put the horse back in my stable, I was surprised, frankly,' Schutz said. 'I explained to him that he had caused me a lot of trouble taking away a horse like that, after all the success we had, and for no good reason.
'I told him that I would only take the horse back if he paid my stable some compensation for loss of earnings, as we had put two years of work into Good Ba Ba and whatever success the horse had this season was still influenced by that foundation.'
Schutz said he and Yuen agreed on a winning percentage from Good Ba Ba's third successive Hong Kong Mile last December, when trained by Cruz, as an appropriate figure.
'He said there were some feng shui issues he wanted me to sort out, which I did, and then he told me he wanted the move to take place quickly, while Derek was in Singapore with Joy And Fun,' Schutz said.
'The Jockey Club processed the move and Good Ba Ba was at my yard a couple of days later. Shortly after this, I presented Mr Yuen with an invoice for the payment and he told me that the compensation idea had been a mistake.'
Yuen and Schutz have both met separately in recent days with Jockey Club director of racing Bill Nader over the matter.
'I know two other trainers have been approached - one of them told me himself,' Schutz said. 'I have been very open about the whole thing, and I wish Mr Yuen luck in the future. But my position was clear: that I would only take the horse back on this condition of a loss of earnings payment, which was agreed, and now he doesn't want to pay it.'
Good Ba Ba's 40-race career has seen him trained by Tony Millard, Alex Wong Yu-on, Schutz, Cruz and Schutz again, with the next trainer yet to be named.
But he still has some way to go to match Yuen's former sprinter-miler Run And Win, which was trained by Millard, Wylie Wong Wai-lit, Manfred Man Ka-leung, John Size, Man again, Brian Kan Ping-chee, Peter Ho Leung and Millard again in his 46 starts.