Ato, Red Jazz pull out of Hong Kong International Races
Withdrawal of offshore horses means Sprint and HK Mile will only have 13 runners
Four of the overseas visitors for the Longines Hong Kong International Races have arrived, with the bulk of them scheduled to flood in this weekend, but Ato and Red Jazz will not be among them.
The original Singapore entry for the Hong Kong Sprint was three runners, but it is down to only Michael Freedman-trained Super Easy, with Ato's withdrawal yesterday following on from the scratching of Freedman's Mr Big early in the week.
Ato will not be replaced, leaving the Sprint with 13 runners. Australia's Sea Siren, Super Easy and Japan's Lord Kanaloa and Curren Chan comprise the shrinking visiting team for the shortest of the international events.
Ato's injury was minor, reported as a slight sprain, but it forced trainer Patrick Shaw to miss a barrier trial this morning at Kranji.
Shaw believed the trial was vital if he was to get Ato into top condition to take on the Sprint and he felt the assignment would be too much for the sprinter if he was short of 100 per cent.
Four runners equals the smallest foreign representation in the history of the Sprint.
That was in 2010, when South Africa's JJ The Jet Plane broke the hometown stranglehold on the Sprint, beating another visitor, Singapore champion Rocket Man.
The Hong Kong Mile is down to 13 runners as well, with the club having no plans to replace Charlie Hills-trained Red Jazz, withdrawn yesterday after an unsatisfactory pre-flight veterinary check.
The defending Vase champion, Mikel Delzangles-trained Dunaden, completed the visitors arriving on flights from Australia when he landed safely on Tuesday night, and Irish-trained Mile runner Gordon Lord Byron will arrive on the first of the flights from Europe this morning.
English stayer Red Cadeaux, coming from Japan, arrives for the Vase in the early hours of Friday morning, then 20 visitors are scheduled to arrive from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening.
Japanese stayer Jaguar Mail will complete the set when he lands about 1am Sunday.
No travel issues have been reported with any of the internationals already in place at the quarantine stables at Sha Tin.
Meanwhile, jockey Keith Yeung Ming-lun had his first morning riding trackwork yesterday on his way back from an ankle injury he suffered in September.