Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained Packing Pins has been withdrawn from the HK$23 million Longines Hong Kong Mile and Jockey Club officials yesterday confirmed that the three European stayers which contested the Japan Cup on Sunday will not back up in the Vase on December 13.
Executive director of racing Bill Nader said that Ito, Erupt and Trip To Paris were out of the Vase and the John Size-trained pair Khaya and Ensuring would join the race.
In the past, the club has left open the option for a Japan Cup runner to be included in the Vase late but Nader, who was in Tokyo on Sunday, said there was no interest.
"But John wanted to run his pair and of course Khaya did finish third in the race a year ago, so they get a start now," he said.
Packing Pins has been withdrawn from the Mile to be replaced by Tony Cruz-trained Romantic Touch, a last-start winner who placed in the Derby in March and won a Group One over 1,600m as a two-year-old in Australia.
"Romantic Touch does have that in his background, so he's certainly not out of place in a Group One field and he is a quality, in-form horse who deserves his chance," Nader said.
"Ricky said there's nothing wrong with Packing Pins, but he was always a query whether he would go through with the invitation despite his fifth in the Jockey Club Cup. I think there was a sense from his connections that the race was a bit soon for a fairly inexperienced horse."
In other news, Zac Purton misses Sha Tin on Sunday to ride Gun Pit in Japan, while Douglas Whyte has picked up the mount on 12-1 chance Neverland in the Group One Kingston Town Classic in Perth on Saturday, but will return for Sunday's meeting.