British speedster Profitable has been withdrawn from the HK$18.5 million Longines Hong Kong Sprint next month, leaving a vacancy which may be filled by the Gary Moore-trained Takedown.
Profitable failed to please connections in his work late in the week and will go for a break and attention turns now to whether former top jockey and champion Macau trainer Moore, now based at Rosehill in Sydney, will have his first Hong Kong international runner.
Some Australian media outlets have reported that Takedown may yet come for the race, pending his performance in the Group One Winterbottom Stakes in Perth on Saturday, even though he was not amongst the runners announced on Wednesday.
However, Moore himself explicitly said in a Thursday radio interview in Australia that Takedown had not received an invitation for the race and his focus was entirely on the Winterbottom Stakes this weekend, for which he is third favourite.
In the Hong Kong Cup, Prix Dollar winner Potemkin has also disappointed his trainer Andreas Wohler and has been scratched from the Hong Kong Cup and spelled, leaving the international meeting without a German presence on the track. No replacement for Potemkin has been named, leaving the Cup with 13 runners.
Meanwhile, Japanese mare Nuovo Record – the Cup runner-up to A Shin Hikari in 2015 – boosted her stocks for the Hong Kong Vase with a hard-fought Group Three victory at Del Mar in California on Friday morning Hong Kong time.
Nuovo Record hadn’t been racing up to her best form and disappointed in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare at her prior appearance but finished strongly with the tempo against her to land the race at Del Mar in the final stride.
Another Vase entry, the Francis-Henri Graffard-trained Erupt, has still to get through the Japan Cup on Sunday in one piece before he is confirmed for the Sha Tin showpiece.
Owner Alan Cooper has told the Japanese media that: “Everything is in place for Erupt to go from here to Hong Kong during the week, with the reservation that we will discuss the horse’s participation after Sunday’s race.”
In other news, jockey Derek Leung Ka-chun has been cleared by his neurosurgeon on Friday to return to the saddle and Leung plans to be back riding by December 4.
Leung suffered head injuries when his mount Caga Force collapsed on him at Sha Tin on October 23 but his record leading up to that incident was enough for him to be named as the local representative in the Longines International Jockeys’ Championship at Happy Valley on December 7. Leung hopes to be race riding again in time for the race meeting prior on Sunday week, December 4.
Meanwhile, leading apprentice Kei Chiong Ka-kei injured herself in a trackwork fall on Friday morning and has been ruled unfit to compete at Sha Tin on Sunday with replacements riders taking her mounts.