80 Group One winners nominate for HK International Races
Early nominations, including Cirrus des Aigles, only a clue to the final field for International Races
The Jockey Club has announced early nominations for the HK$72 million on offer in the Longines Hong Kong International Races on December 9, with 80 Group One winners among the names.
"We are delighted with the depth of quality at the nomination stage," the club's executive director of racing, Bill Nader said.
"Such star names are what we have come to expect from our flagship race day, an event that is one of Hong Kong's most famous sporting spectacles.
"With Longines joining us for the first time, we are confident that this great occasion, now widely recognised as the Turf World Championships, can only enhance its standing as the sport's annual international finale."
There are 267 nominations from 13 different racing jurisdictions for the four races - the HK$22 million Hong Kong Cup, 2,000m; , the US$20 million Hong Kong Mile, 1,600m; the HK$15 million Hong Kong Sprint 1,200m; and HK$15 million Hong Kong Vase, 2,400m.
The early nominations offer only minor clues as to the likely ultimate make up of the fields, but Cirrus des Aigles, the world's second highest-rated horse this year behind Frankel, has been here for the past three December international meetings and is again prominent among the nominations.
With the Breeders' Cup meeting this weekend in the United States, the ongoing carnival in Melbourne and major events to come in Japan between now and the announcement of the selected runners next month, there is plenty of water to flow under the bridge.
But the 84 Hong Kong Sprint nominees include last Friday night's Group One Manikato Stakes winner in Melbourne, Sea Siren, and Japanese sprinters Lord Kanaloa and Curren Chan, and connections of each have indicated that Sha Tin is on their agenda. Singapore's star four-year-old Super Easy is also targeting the race.
The Singapore International winner Chinchon, another previous visitor, is among the Cup entries, as is QEII Cup winner Japan's Rulership, who may be headed back after returning from a break with a strong-finishing third in the Tenno Sho in Tokyo.
The greatest number of entries is from Hong Kong, with 57 headed by Ambitious Dragon, while 43 have been nominated from Britain, 37 from Japan and 36 from France.