And with that, the Longines Hong Kong International Races are over for 2015. A fireworks display is about to set alight Sha Tin, and then, it's party time. Thank you for joining us on our live blog today, we hope you found a winner. And make sure you grab a South China Morning Post tomorrow for the full wrap-up of today's events. Our personal highlight? Has to be Peniaphobia's Sprint win, so the pocket says at least, but as a racing fan the win of A Shin Hikari and the ride of Yutaka Take will long live in the memory.
RACE 10 - LORD KANALOA HANDICAP (Class Two, 1,200m)
1 - FABULOUS ONE (Craig Williams)
2 - AMAZING KIDS (Joao Moreira)
3 - BULLISH FRIEND (Gerald Mosse)
4 - SECRET COMMAND (Karis Teetan)
Fabulous One just keeps on winning. He's been a revelation this season and with that win, he probably finds himself having to tackle Group company. But will he step up to 1,400m or drop to 1,000m? Those are his two options on New Year's Day. And who knows - he might be in the Hong Kong Sprint next year.
Loading for the last and as I speak (or write), massive move for Bullish Friend. Into 12-1.
Fabulous One is plenty short enough for his first go at Class Two but the way he has been winning, he can keep improving. However, would prefer to take him on with Born In China at 7-1 or even Friends Of Ka Ying, formerly Almalad. He's trialled well and looks a big price at 10-1.
Selections for the last:
Alan Aitken (Racing Editor): #6 Fabulous One from #14 Secret Command, #2 Amazing Kids, #4 Jetwings
Michael Cox (Racing Writer): #6 Fabulous One from #1 Born In China, #3 Friends Of Ka Ying, #2 Amazing Kids
Andrew Hawkins (Racing Writer): #1 Born In China from #3 Friends Of Ka Ying, #2 Amazing Kids, #6 Fabulous One
Brett Davis (Racecaller): #6 Fabulous One from #1 Born In China, #14 Secret Command, #4 Jetwings
So we're up to the 10th and final race here at Sha Tin, where there are a number of horses stepping out in Hong Kong for the first time under new names. Friends Of Ka Ying raced in a Cox Plate and won a Group One as Almalad, Almababy was Eclair Big Bang in Australia, Master Ceramibo raced as Master Apprentice in the UK. The only HK debutant with the same name is Hong Kong Captain.
Some more incredible photos from Kenneth Chan, this time of the Hong Kong Mile and the Hong Kong Cup.
A large part of the success of the Hong Kong International Races in recent years has been the Jockey Club's executive director of racing, Bill Nader.
And the final of our feature replays - watch the dazzling brilliance of Yutaka Take on A Shin Hikari in the Hong Kong Cup.
Final finishing orders for the Hong Kong Mile and Hong Kong Cup:
HONG KONG MILE
1 - MAURICE
2 - GIANT TREASURE
3 - ABLE FRIEND
4 - ESOTERIQUE
5 - CONTENTMENT
6 - BEAUTY FLAME
7 - DANON PLATINA
8 - REWARDING HERO
9 - FIERO
10 - ROMANTIC TOUCH
11 - TOORMORE
12 - MONDIALISTE
13 - SECRET SHAM
14 - RED DUBAWI
HONG KONG CUP
1 - A SHIN HIKARI
2 - NUOVO RECORD
3 - BLAZING SPEED
4 - DESIGNS ON ROME
5 - LUCIA VALENTINA
6 - MILITARY ATTACK
7 - DAN EXCEL
8 - BEAUTY ONLY
9 - CRITERION
10 - STAPHANOS
11 - SATONO ALADDIN
12 - FREE PORT LUX
13 - FREE EAGLE
RACE 9 - FLYING DANCER HANDICAP (Class One, 1,400m)
1 - SUN JEWELLERY (Joao Moreira)
2 - MULTIVICTORY (Craig Williams)
3 - LUCKY BUBBLES (Brett Prebble)
4 - DASHING FELLOW (Howard Cheng)
Sun Jewellery odds-on and wins accordingly. He'll be one of the favourites for the Classic Mile now - depending on what his stablemates do, though. Amazing Kids runs in the last, while Thewizardofoz steps out in two weeks. Hard to not see John Size having the favourite in the first of the four-year-old classics though!
Loading up for the ninth. The bottom two, Dashing Fellow and Multivictory, have green lamps.
Watch the replay of the Hong Kong Mile here.
So to the selections from the experts for the Class One.
Alan Aitken (Racing Editor): #10 Sun Jewellery from #13 Dashing Fellow, #11 Key Witness, #12 Lucky Bubbles
Michael Cox (Racing Writer): #12 Lucky Bubbles from #14 Multivictory, #10 Sun Jewellery, #1 Packing Llaregyb
Andrew Hawkins (Racing Writer): #10 Sun Jewellery from #5 Super Lifeline, #11 Key Witness, #12 Lucky Bubbles
Brett Davis (Racecaller): #12 Lucky Bubbles from #10 Sun Jewellery, #11 Key Witness, #2 Pleasure Gains
These races really do come up too soon. We're already up to the penultimate race, the Class One over 1,400m. Won by a handy little neddy called Able Friend two years ago, while Hong Kong Sprint fourth Dundonnell won it last year. Sun Jewellery is at odds-on here and can stamp himself as the one to beat in the Classic Mile in a month's time.
Look at those sectionals out in front though. Plenty of 23.5-esque splits. Yutaka Take, that is the ride of the year anywhere in the world.
Looks like Criterion and Free Eagle have ended at the tail. Both very plain. Hope they are OK. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Designs On Rome has run absolutely enormous to come from last. So too has Nuovo Record.
And once again, Kimigayo rings out over Sha Tin, but perhaps in happier circumstances this time around. Plenty are excited by A Shin Hikari's electric performance.
There are Japanese women crying here, overwhelmed by the success of A Shin Hikari and Yutaka Take. They are throwing themselves at Take. Oh, to be a Japanese jockey...
RACE 8 - HONG KONG CUP (Group One, 2,000m)
1 - A SHIN HIKARI (Yutaka Take)
2 - NUOVO RECORD (Ryan Moore)
3 - BLAZING SPEED (Neil Callan)
4 - DESIGNS ON ROME (Joao Moreira)
Take a bow, Yutaka Take. Ryan Moore and Joao Moreira might take honours for the day in terms of coverage, but the ride of the day will go to the Japanese legend. That was extraordinary. Perfect way to ride the nutty front-runner and he gets the result. If any race today will go down as one of the top moments of HKIR history, it will be that one.
They are into the stretch and A Shin Hikari's opened them up. He's put four lengths on them. They are all flat out chasing him, but he's keeping going. He's going to win. Ryan Moore on Nuovo Record is chasing in vain, so too Blazing Speed and Designs On Rome, but it's all Yutaka Take and A Shin Hikari. What an exciting win!
This is quite extraordinary. He stretches the field out by plenty, A Shin Hikari. Three lengths to Secret Sham, three lengths to Free Eagle, then Blazing Speed and Beauty Only.
Racing in the Hong Kong Cup! They're off in front of the stands, and the two Aussies have missed it, Criterion and Lucia Valentina. Satono Aladdin goes back. And as expected it's the Japanese nutter A Shin Hikari who goes to the lead. And he's leading them through pretty swift sectionals too!
Loading up for the Hong Kong Cup! Looking for late betting moves...Free Eagle is firming, as he should - 5-1 seems a silly price - but Designs On Rome is holding favouritism. Little late nibble again for Blazing Speed too. Not long now!
From the yard:
Staphanos https://t.co/0T4LJzJ1r7— scmpRacingPost (@SCMPRacingPost) December 13, 2015
Here's the two girls in HK Cup: Lucia Valentina best looking, Nuovo Record best dressed with that nifty hood https://t.co/YztwndNZAY— scmpRacingPost (@SCMPRacingPost) December 13, 2015
Really like Nuovo Record here but in Hong Kong, the price is quite short - 7.3 - after Ryan Moore's victories on Highland Reel and Maurice. The one that looks significant overs is another Japanese horse, Satono Aladdin. He is 70-1, he comes out of the Mile Championship where he charged home behind Hong Kong Mile winner Maurice and he will relish the step up to 2,000m. Worth a play at a big price.
HONG KONG CUP SELECTIONS FROM OUR EXPERTS:
Alan Aitken (Racing Editor): #1 Designs On Rome from #5 Military Attack, #2 Free Eagle, #3 Blazing Speed
Michael Cox (Racing Writer): #7 Staphanos from #5 Military Attack, #3 Blazing Speed, #13 Lucia Valentina
Andrew Hawkins (Racing Writer): #14 Nuovo Record from #2 Free Eagle, #1 Designs On Rome, #9 Satono Aladdin
Brett Davis (Racecaller): #7 Staphanos from #1 Designs On Rome, #2 Free Eagle, #14 Nuovo Record
And now we move on to Hong Kong's biggest and richest race of the year - the HK$25 million Hong Kong Cup.
Would be a nice tonic after Able Friend's defeat.
And now rings out the Japanese anthem, Kimigayo. Quite a mournful atmosphere descending over Sha Tin.
Plenty will be written in the coming days and weeks about Able Friend's defeat, and perhaps there will be some questions asked about whether he should have been allowed to run. These are post-mortems best left for later, not in the immediate aftermath. Still, the hate for Able Friend from a large section of the international racing community is quite astounding.
People saying he is not that good, that every time he meets a dominant horse he is beaten. Each time that has happened - against Variety Club, against Solow, against Maurice, he has had issues and not been right. The only defeat where he was beaten fair and square was against a horse already proven to be below his level, that being Beauty Flame.
Hong Kong's champion will bounce back and he will prove the doubters wrong.
The Japanese may have won the Hong Kong Mile, but if you were on Maurice's compatriot Danon Platina, I'd suggest avoiding the replay. It's a tough watch.
Maurice's jockey Ryan Moore: "He didn't pick up sharply, he didn't have the sprint to go with them at the top of the straight, but when he quickened he was powerful through the line."
RACE 7 - HONG KONG MILE (Group One, 1,600m)
1 - MAURICE (Ryan Moore)
2 - GIANT TREASURE (Christophe Soumillon)
3 - ABLE FRIEND (Joao Moreira)
4 - ESOTERIQUE (Pierre-Charles Boudot)
It's the Ryan Moore show here at Sha Tin, winning the Vase on Highland Reel and now the Mile on Maurice. Giving a bit of a lesson here!
They are in the straight, Maurice is pulled out wide, so is Able Friend. Hong Kong's big chestnut is coming down the outside! But he's lugging out, not sure if he's ok there. And in the meantime, Japan's Maurice is rallying on the inside of him! It's Maurice coming through, Giant Treasure bursting through on the inside, but Maurice! Perhaps Asia has a new 'Beast From The East' with the Japanese superstar saluting. Giant Treasure second...how??? Able Friend third, Esoterique fourth.
Racing in the Mile! Secret Sham bobbed at the start, Red Dubawi has gone right back to last. Beauty Flame bounces out on the lead with Contentment, so Secret Sham bursts through to take them up. Toormore is three deep and James Doyle seems hesistant to push on. Able Friend is midfield, perfect spot, on the back of Maurice.
Loading up for the Mile! Really hoping we see the real Able Friend here. That's what everyone has travelled here to see. Green lamps for the #7, Contentment, also the #14 Esoterique.
From the paddock:
Toormore out of parade ring early pic.twitter.com/cNUuxgDSao— scmpRacingPost (@SCMPRacingPost) December 13, 2015
Let's get ready to RUMBLE! Able Friend v Maurice. Promise it lasts longer than Aldo V McGregor https://t.co/e6ooCwt0Qu— scmpRacingPost (@SCMPRacingPost) December 13, 2015
Able Friend's price remains quite big, really, 1.7 seems a steal - if he's fine. And it's a big if.
First little nibble in the market comes for Esoterique, in from 60-1 into 43. Quite amazing she was ever that sort of price.
HONG KONG MILE SELECTIONS FROM OUR EXPERTS:
Alan Aitken (Racing Editor): #1 Able Friend from #2 Maurice, #7 Contentment, #3 Beauty Flame
Michael Cox (Racing Writer): #1 Able Friend from #2 Maurice, #7 Contentment, #13 Danon Platina
Andrew Hawkins (Racing Writer): #1 Able Friend (SECOND BEST) from #2 Maurice, #13 Danon Platina, #14 Esoterique
Brett Davis (Racecaller): #1 Able Friend from #14 Esoterique, #13 Danon Platina, #6 Fiero
So we're up to the third of the features, the Hong Kong Mile - a race that the locals have not lost since 2005.
There has been all the drama with Able Friend this morning, and Maurice is a legitimate contender for his 'Beast from the East' crown. But Michael Cox still thinks Hong Kong's best horse will put on a dazzling display today.
Some great photos from our man on the ground Kenneth Chan of the Hong Kong Vase and the Hong Kong Sprint.
Kei Chiong has a suspected broken arm after falling from Gentilis. Terrible luck for the claimer, she was set to debut at HV on Wednesday.— scmpRacingPost (@SCMPRacingPost) December 13, 2015
Back to the international action with the Hong Kong Mile up next. But before that, relive the Hong Kong Sprint with the replay. Still very excited watching Peniaphobia!
RACE 6 - EISHIN PRESTON HANDICAP (Class Two, 1,600m)
1 - WERTHER (Hugh Bowman)
2 - APOLLO'S CHOICE (Damien Oliver)
3 - VICTORY MAGIC (Chad Schofield)
4 - TRAVEL FIRST (Douglas Whyte)
You couldn't have paid me to back Werther first time out in Hong Kong, but he showed a little more brilliance than he did in Australia and New Zealand to win. He was a dual Derby placegetter in Australia, finishing second in the South Australian Derby to Delicacy before a second in the Queensland Derby to Magicool, and on the back of that he will be well fancied for March's Hong Kong Derby.
Big money for the #13, Travel First, also the #14, Sichuan Dar, and the #8 Brilliant Dream brown-lamped!
With so much happening, it's almost easy to ignore this race - on most days this would be the feature in Hong Kong! This Class Two over 1,600m has a number of nice horses, including some headed for the four-year-old classics.
Alan Aitken (Racing Editor): #3 Apollo's Choice from #7 Photon Willie, #8 Brilliant Dream, #14 Sichuan Dar
Michael Cox (Racing Writer): #9 Victory Magic from #6 Werther, #3 Apollo's Choice, #10 Ishvara
Andrew Hawkins (Racing Writer): #3 Apollo's Choice from #14 Sichuan Dar, #9 Victory Magic, #7 Photon Willie
Brett Davis (Racecaller): #12 Wah May Friend from #9 Victory Magic, #3 Apollo's Choice, #14 Sichuan Dar
And we've got a replay of the Hong Kong Vase already up!
Final finishing orders for the Hong Kong Vase and Hong Kong Sprint:
HONG KONG VASE
1 - HIGHLAND REEL
2 - FLINTSHIRE
3 - DARIYAN
4 - MING DYNASTY
5 - HELENE HAPPY STAR
6 - DOMINANT
7 - PREFERMENT
8 - KHAYA
9 - ENSURING
10 - CIRRUS DES AIGLES
11 - CANNOCK CHASE
12 - HARBOUR MASTER
13 - HELENE SUPER STAR
HONG KONG SPRINT
1 - PENIAPHOBIA
2 - GOLD-FUN
3 - NOT LISTENIN'TOME
4 - DUNDONNELL
5 - MONGOLIAN SATURDAY
6 - CHARLES THE GREAT
7 - MIKKI ISLE
8 - GREEN MASK
9 - STRAIGHT GIRL
10 - LUCKY NINE
11 - SOLE POWER
12 - SAKURA GOSPEL
13 - RICH TAPESTRY
Replacements have come through for Tommy Berry.
R6 #8 Brilliant Dream - Vincent Ho
R7 (Hong Kong Mile) #12 Secret Sham - Damien Oliver
R8 (Hong Kong Cup) #Dan Excel - Hugh Bowman
R9 #4 Exciting Dream - Hugh Bowman
R10 #10 Supreme Falcon - Brett Prebble
Think I might have broken my hand banging the table home after cheering home Peniaphobia. Definitely sore now. Worth it though!
That brings up Joao Moreira's 300th win in Hong Kong - and what a win too. He's been a breath of fresh air for Hong Kong - although perhaps not from a punting perspective!
What about poor old Gold-Fun though? Second for the third straight year in a HKIR race. Twice second in the Mile, now second in the Sprint. You'd love to own him, but terrible luck. Still, he looked to have his chance today. Just not good enough.
RACE 5 - HONG KONG SPRINT (Group One, 1,200m)
1 - PENIAPHOBIA (Joao Moreira)
2 - GOLD-FUN (Christophe Soumillon)
3 - NOT LISTENIN'TOME (Hugh Bowman)
4 - DUNDONNELL (Douglas Whyte)
Getting a lot of weird stares here from the local media, but who cares? He's Hong Kong's best sprinter and he showed it today. And what about that magic ride from Joao Moreira? Simply sublime. Took the race by the scruff of the neck and it was pretty easy to watch.
They are into the straight. Keep going Joao! Gold-Fun looms up out of the pack, Not Listenin'tome coming home too. (Back in the pack, neither of the Americans handled the bend, shock horror.) KEEP RIDING JOAO! GET HIM HOME! KICK! KICK! HE'S HOME! Peniaphobia wins the Hong Kong Sprint!
Racing in the Sprint! And Peniaphobia lobs out a length in front, so that solves that. He goes to the lead, but doesn't look to be much pace? Mongolian Saturday surprisingly takes a sit, still handy in third though, Mikki Isle sitting just off him too.
Ok, they are loading up for the Hong Kong Sprint. Green lamp for the 5, that's Mikki Isle who is likely to go forward. Gold-Fun a firm favourite at 1.7. Green lamp also goes up now for Peniaphobia, who got out to a ridiculous price. Give him strength!
Have to say Peniaphobia looks outstanding. Think if he gets a good ride from Joao Moreira, he just wins. My day hinges on him!
Also, it looks like Pat Smullen is replacing Tommy Berry on Rich Tapestry.
It has been Mongolian Saturday's party trick all week - to dig his hooves in once he gets on the track. Raceday is no different.
HONG KONG SPRINT SELECTIONS FROM OUR EXPERTS:
Alan Aitken (Racing Editor): #1 Gold-Fun from #6 Peniaphobia, #3 Lucky Nine, #11 Not Listenin'tome
Michael Cox (Racing Writer): #1 Gold-Fun from #11 Not Listenin'tome, #6 Peniaphobia, #3 Lucky Nine
Andrew Hawkins (Racing Writer): #6 Peniaphobia (BEST BET) from #1 Gold-Fun, #14 Straight Girl, #9 Green Mask
Brett Davis (Racecaller): #1 Gold-Fun from #6 Peniaphobia, #14 Straight Girl, #5 Mikki Isle
Michael Cox wrote about the brilliant backstory of Mongolian Saturday. Well worth a read if you get time between these races!
With all this drama, it's hard to keep up - would be nice if the Hong Kong Sprint was put back a few minutes! But it is up in 20 minutes.
BREAKING NEWS: Tommy Berry indisposed
The Australian rider has been ruled out of his rides for the rest of the day. The news coming thick and fast now!
BREAKING NEWS: Strathmore is out of the Hong Kong Sprint
And it's not for vets either. It's by order of the stewards. This could be one of the really big stories of international day. Stay tuned.
Highland Reel's jockey Ryan Moore: "He just keeps improving. It was a great effort today, he has had a tough schedule this year but this was his best performance. He really saw the trip out well."
Bit of drama with the judge semaphoring the wrong numbers! Putting Cannock Chase, number three, up for third instead of Dariyan, number 13. Definitely the Aga Khan's colours in the placings!
RACE 4 - HONG KONG VASE (Group One, 2,400m)
1 - HIGHLAND REEL (Ryan Moore)
2 - FLINTSHIRE (Vincent Cheminaud)
3 - DARIYAN (Christopher Soumillon)
4 - MING DYNASTY (Umberto Rispoli)
Terrific ride from Ryan Moore there. Showed why he is one of the world's best. And Highland Reel, those trips to Chicago and Melbourne paid off here - he was much more relaxed behind the gates, he was always in a good position and he was too good on the day!
Into the straight, Harbour Master and Cirrus Des Aigles headed off quickly and Flintshire moves into it looking the winner on the outside. But Highland Reel, the early leader, is not done yet. He's fighting back. He's kicking. He wins it! Irish eyes are smiling as Aidan O'Brien gets his first Hong Kong winner with Highland Reel in the Hong Kong Vase!
Highland Reel leads them along at fairly steady fractions. But here's a move! Tommy Berry on Harbour Master takes off and injects a little more speed. Cirrus Des Aigles up into second. Helene Happy Star travelling strongly on the bend.
Ming Dynasty a little slowly away, Khaya missed the start and is back near the tail this year after leading last year. And the leaders are heavily backed Highland Reel and Helene Happy Star first time to the post. Cirrus Des Aigles, Cannock Chase caught very deep at the first turn.
They're off and racing in the Hong Kong Vase.
Preparing to load them up for the Hong Kong Vase! Money coming for Highland Reel, he has the green lamp, while it looks like there's nibbles for Preferment and Ensuring in the quinella pools.
As they prepare to load them up in the Hong Kong Vase, some news from the previous race - Kei Chiong has been taken to hospital following her fall from Gentilis. She is having a precautionary examination of her right wrist.
Flintshire is holding down clear favouritism here at 2.2, ahead of Helene Happy Star at 6.4, Highland Reel at 6.7, Dominant at 8.8. Double figures the rest.
Some of the runners from the yard:
Helene Happy Star looks in great order pic.twitter.com/nc52pf8UpK— scmpRacingPost (@SCMPRacingPost) December 13, 2015
HONG KONG VASE SELECTIONS FROM OUR EXPERTS:
Alan Aitken (Racing Editor): #12 Ming Dynasty from #1 Flintshire, #11 Highland Reel, #7 Helene Happy Star
Michael Cox (Racing Writer): #6 Dominant from #1 Flintshire, #11 Highland Reel, #2 Cirrus Des Aigles
Andrew Hawkins (Racing Writer): #13 Dariyan from #11 Highland Reel, #7 Helene Happy Star, #1 Flintshire
Brett Davis (Racecaller): #13 Dariyan from #1 Flintshire, #6 Dominant, #10 Ensuring
JUST 10 MINUTES UNTIL THE FIRST FEATURE. The HK$16.5 million Longines Hong Kong Vase (2,400m) is the longest of the four international races, and has attracted the strongest field in years.
In my preview for the Hong Kong Vase, I explained why I thought Dariyan was the horse who could break the hoodoo for three-year-old colts in the race - six years after his dam Daryakana saluted in the same race.
Our photographer Kenneth Chan has been out amongst the crowd and has got some incredible shots from the stands.
Look at the calibre of jockeys lined up here for the opening ceremony: think Moore, Moreira, Purton, Berry, McDonald, Smullen, Peslier, Soumillon, Williams, Whyte, Prebble, Bowman, Hamanaka, Geroux, Rosario, Tosaki, Take, Oliver, Callan. Could keep going all day. Just extraordinary.
Nice performance from Land Grant at his first run for Danny Shum. Placed at Muswellbrook and Gosford, won at Newcastle in New South Wales earlier this week.
Just watching the replay back, saw that 10-pound claimer Kei Chiong fell from Gentilis in the closing stages. Up to her feet quickly, it seems.
RACE 3 - J J THE JET PLANE HANDICAP (Class Three, 1,200m)
1 - WINSTON'S LAD (Brett Prebble)
2 - LAND GRANT (Neil Callan)
3 - FLYING MOOCHI (Gerald Mosse)
4 - BEAUTY PRINCE (Tommy Berry)
Nice ride from Brett Prebble, was gifted a perfect run through along the inside and he took advantage. Now likely to find himself in Class Two after winning off a mark of 74 today.
Green lamps for Team Fortune and Diego Kosta.
Money coming for Team Fortune - no shock, really, with Joao Moreira aboard. Market seems to have it as a race in two, and not far wrong either. Loading up now.
Selections for race three from our experts:
Alan Aitken (Racing Editor): #3 Winston's Lad (SECOND BEST) from #7 Team Fortune, #9 Penang Hall, #11 Diego Kosta
Michael Cox (Racing Writer): #3 Winston's Lad (SECOND BEST) from #9 Penang Hall, #7 Team Fortune, #11 Diego Kosta
Andrew Hawkins (Racing Writer): #9 Penang Hall from #11 Diego Kosta, #3 Winston's Lad, #7 Team Fortune
Brett Davis (Racecaller): #7 Team Fortune from #3 Winston's Lad, #9 Penang Hall, #11 Diego Kosta
So a race in four, it seems, with the value Penang Hall at 22-1, it seems.
So we're up to race three - time's already flying! The last of the Class Threes before we get into the higher class races - this time, over 1,200m. Winston's Lad is short after an impressive win first time out in Hong Kong, with unbeaten Team Fortune the second pick. 15 minutes until they jump.
Some great tweets with the #HKIR hashtag coming through. Here are some of them.
Happilababy parades in front of the fans after winning the Sha Tin 2nd onDecember 13, 2015
Danny Shum brings up 400 wins in Hong Kong with Happilababy. And celebrates like it too!
Danny Shum celebrates his 400th win by inviting 400 people into winner's enclosure. Nice touch https://t.co/TAs12nQ9Rr— scmpRacingPost (@SCMPRacingPost) December 13, 2015
RACE 2 - FANTASTIC LIGHT HANDICAP (Class Three, 1,800m)
1 - HAPPILABABY (Zac Purton)
2 - GOLD DRAGON (Chad Schofield)
3 - SERGEANT TITANIUM (Joao Moreira)
4 - INDUSTRIALIST WAY (Umberto Rispoli)
Get up you good thing! Happilababy wins at 8-1, very nice price in the end, after they go quite hard early but steady on the circle. Perfect race shape for a closer like Happilababy.
Loading up now. Green lamp for Happilababy. Gold Dragon also looks like he is about to firm.
Sergeant Titanium odds-on? Deary me. Avoid! Plenty of value to be had.
Selections from the SCMP Racing Post crew:
Alan Aitken (Racing Editor): #13 Gold Dragon from #3 Sergeant Titanium, #6 Happilababy, #1 Andoyas
Michael Cox (Racing Writer): #6 Happilababy from #8 Ashkiyr, #13 Gold Dragon, #3 Sergeant Titanium
Andrew Hawkins (Racing Writer): #6 Happilababy from #3 Sergeant Titanium, #11 Lotus Strikes Back, #12 Po Ching Treasiure
Brett Davis (Racecaller): #5 Sergeant Titanium (BEST BET) from #1 Andoyas, #8 Ashkiyr, #13 Gold Dragon
So we are onto the second, a Class Three over 1,800m. Probably the weakest race of the day, but on a day like this, that's no real knock. Sergeant Titanium an even-money favourite, though? Have to take him on at that price.
Some great photos from our photographer Kenneth Chan of the opening ceremony before the first.
Already 50,000 people on track before the first race. And definitely looks it, inside the Sha Tin grandstand at least.
Australian trainer David Hayes, who was the leading trainer in Hong Kong during a decade-long stint in the late-1990s and early-2000s, has always labelled this day show-off day. That is, it is the day on which all owners want to win. It's worked for Paul O'Sullivan before...who knows where we will see Jolly Jolly in a year's time?
Looks a big crowd already for the first race - racing editor Alan Aitken already thinks it could be a record crowd for international day.
RACE 1 - SILENT WITNESS HANDICAP (Class Three, 1,400m)
1 - JOLLY JOLLY (Karis Teetan)
2 - PEOPLE'S KNIGHT (Tommy Berry)
3 - RUN FORREST (Joao Moreira)
4 - MODERN TSAR (Brett Prebble)
An easy win for Karis Teetan on Paul O'Sullivan's Jolly Jolly. Bouncing from gate 13, he sat outside the lead, kicked him on entering the straight and never looked like being beaten.
Jolly Jolly has been backed into favouritism, it's a one way street here. Beginning to load.
And just like that, the first race is upon us. It's a Class Three over 1,400m, jumping in five minutes. Selections from our experts:
Alan Aitken (Racing Editor): #10 Jolly Jolly (BEST BET) from #1 Enormous Honour, #2 Laugh Out Loud, #8 People's Knight
Michael Cox (Racing Writer): #12 Run Forrest (BEST BET) from #8 People's Knight, #10 Jolly Jolly, #1 Enormous Honour
Andrew Hawkins (Racing Writer): #8 People's Knight from #12 Run Forrest, #6 Super Fluke, #11 Ovett
Brett Davis (Racecaller): #5 Pakistan Baby from #10 Jolly Jolly, #8 People's Knight, 12 Run Forrest
Our experts have been through the form and have provided their best bet for today's HKIR meeting.
Alan Aitken (Racing Editor): R1 #10 Jolly Jolly - Promising galloper and can overcome the gate
Michael Cox (Racing Writer): R1 #12 Run Forrest - Flying at the trials and he is ready to strike
Andrew Hawkins (Racing Writer): R5 #6 Peniaphobia - Has had an ideal prep and can turn the tables on Gold-Fun
Brett Davis (Racecaller): R2 #3 Sergeant Titanium - Going terrific with ratings points still in hand
After a long, long, LONG, delay in traffic outside Sha Tin we're finally on course. Quite amazing to see visitors from all over the world at Sha Tin too.
The decision has come through - Able Friend will run in the Hong Kong Mile.
Able Friend passed fit to race. Can he emulate Ambitious Dragon, passed fit in 2012 before winning the Hong Kong Mile? #HKIR— scmpRacingPost (@SCMPRacingPost) December 13, 2015
Plenty are streaming into the gates at the top of the Sha Tin straight. Between 75,000 and 80,000 expected on track - and amazingly, it isn't Hong Kong's biggest meeting in terms of crowd size. That goes to the Chinese New Year meeting in January/February each year.
There have been plenty of great stories throughout the week, but none better than the tale of Mongolian Saturday, his trainer Ganbat Enebish and his owner Ganbaatar Dagvadorj.
Of course, Able Friend is on the cover of our special edition Racing Post in today's SMP. Hopefully, Hong Kong's champ can do an Ambitious Dragon - pick himself up off the canvas and give the crowd a real spectacle.
It has already been a morning of drama - France's Hong Kong Cup contender Gailo Chop was withdrawn after pulling up lame yesterday, before the massive news came through that Able Friend is under an injury cloud. According to the Jockey Club, he is currently suitable to race but he was slightly lame in his right front foot. That will be the big story of the day with plenty of drama surrounding the decision as to whether he runs or not. The decision is due at 12pm.
Welcome to Sha Tin and the biggest day on the Hong Kong racing calendar, the Longines Hong Kong International Races, where some of the best gallopers from all over the world head to the New Territories to take on Hong Kong's elite. It's a bit dreary at the moment, warm but patches of rain around the place. However, it's meant to clear up by the time the first of the 10 races is run at 12:25pm. Certainly, the sun should be out for the four features - the HK$16.5m Vase (2,400m) at 2pm, the HK$18.5m Sprint (1,200m) at 2:40pm, the HK$23m Mile (1,600m) at 3:50pm and the HK$25m Cup (2,000m) at 4:30pm. Stick with our live blog for all the news, views, analysis and colour from Hong Kong's biggest raceday.