Whatever jewels are amongst the selected runners for the Longines Hong Kong International Races when they are made public on Wednesday afternoon, last season’s Hong Kong Derby winner Luger will not be amongst them.
Trainer John Size has ended speculation that he might try to “do a Glorious Days” and run the outstanding five-year-old first-up in the Hong Kong Mile, the trainer himself hosing down that idea yesterday.
“I think the Stewards’ Cup looks a good race for him on January 31,” Size said. “He’s probably a month away from having a barrier trial so running international day has not been even remotely an option.”
Luger is returning from a second episode of heart arrhythmia in the Champions Mile in May and suffered a setback at the end of September, when he was reported with cellulitis in his left hind cannon bone.
“I had to back right off him to ensure the infection didn’t get hold of him and he lost quite a bit of condition in the process,” Size explained. “So his body weight isn’t where it should be and I’m gradually building him up again before he’ll be ready to go to the races.”
Size said that aside from the horse’s well-being, resuming in the Stewards’ Cup had its possible benefits from another angle.
“He’s fine but I was never going to rush him just to get him to what will be a very tough race in December. Anyway, you sometimes see the big name horses run a bit flat next time after the internationals, so the Stewards’ Cup probably isn’t a bad time to bump into them,” he said.