The Jockey Club is delighted with how its spring majors are shaping up with a host of big-name internationals poised to make the trip to Hong Kong after a big weekend of Group One racing around the globe.
With key races in Dubai, Japan and Australia, the fields for the QE II Cup, Champions Mile and Chairman’s Sprint Prize are starting to take shape, led by Group One winners The Right Man (Al Quoz Sprint), Vivlos (Dubai Turf) and Jameka (The BMW).
“The horses that we wanted to run well and had entries, did run well,” Jockey Club executive director of racing and business operations Tony Kelly said.
“A horse like The Right Man for instance, he had an entry, the connections said he’d been prepared all winter for just that race but as long as he came out of the race OK, they’d give serious consideration to coming here. We hope to get him and we’ll send him an invite.
“The results looking ahead to the spring couldn’t have gone any better really.”
In Japan’s Grade One Takamatsunomiya Kinen on Sunday, the Hiroyuki Uehara-trained Seiun Kosei settled just behind the speed on the soft track, peeling out at the top of the straight and holding off his rivals for a comfortable win.
While the winner isn’t entered for the Chairman’s Sprint Prize, the runner-up Let’s Go Donki and third placegetter Red Falx are.
It was a welcome return to form for Red Falx, who disappointed when finishing 12th in the Hong Kong Sprint and is now in line for a shot at redemption at Sha Tin in May.
“The winner is not entered but second and third are – Red Falx and Let’s Go Donki would be on our list to attract,” Kelly said. “The Japanese like coming here so I wouldn’t see a problem with us issuing them an invite and getting them here as well.”
There could be a host of QE II runners from the Dubai Turf, with connections of the winner Vivlos expressing interest after the race and the Jockey Club chasing runner-up Heshem.
Fourth placegetter Zarak has an invitation while trainer William Haggas is keen for Mutakayyef, who finished fifth, to make the trip, but the final decision will rest with owner Sheikh Hamdan.
Vivlos wins the Dubai Turf for Japan thanks to a well-timed challenge from the brilliant Joao Moreira as the Europeans disappoint pic.twitter.com/pvFu4woblY— Meydan Racing (@DRC_Meydan) March 25, 2017
Japanese stars and stablemates Satono Crown and Neorealism both received invitations to the QE II with trainer Noriyuki Hori likely to chose one of them to go.
South African horseman Mike de Kock is also keen to bring Mubtaahij, who finished fourth in the Dubai World Cup behind Arrogate, to Hong Kong for the 2,000m contest.
Australian trainer Ciaron Maher has had his eye on the QE II with Caulfield Cup winner Jameka for a while and a dominant win in The BMW at Rosehill on Saturday all but confirms she’ll be flying across.
“As long as there’s no problems, I can’t see the horse not being here,” Kelly said.
It is expected Hartnell will join Jameka, while Chautauqua is poised to defend his Chairman’s Sprint Prize title.
Second Summer, who won the Group Two Godolphin Mile at Meydan on Saturday, has an entry for the Champions Mile with the Jockey Club set to issue an invite this week.