Champion Able Friend will have to defy the outside barrier if he’s going to reclaim the Longines Hong Kong Mile trophy at Sha Tin on Sunday.
The Magic Man Joao Moreira needs to wave his wand, as well as having plenty of luck, to give him a soft run in transit and lift the 2014 champion to victory.
It’s another challenge for the “Beast from the East”, who is on the comeback trail from serious injury and has only had one run (fourth in the Jockey Club Sprint) since finishing second in last year’s renewal.
Hong Kong Cup favourite Maurice will also have to overcome a tricky draw and will have to jump from gate eight from the tight 2,000m start.
But in good news for the locals, star sprinter Lucky Bubbles drew perfectly in barrier five.
Here’s a snapshot of the draws for the four Group One features.
Hong Kong Cup:
Japanese superstar Maurice has drawn slightly awkwardly in barrier eight from the tricky start, while last year’s winner A Shin Hikari should find an easy passage to the front from the inside alley.
Staphanos will line-up inside of the favourite in seven.
Of the local chances, Secret Weapon drew nicely in barrier three while Designs On Rome will jump from the six.
Full draw for $25 million Group One Hong Kong Cup pic.twitter.com/mp4NEhWjR9— scmpRacingPost (@SCMPRacingPost) December 8, 2016
Hong Kong Mile:
John Moore’s Able Friend didn’t get any favours and will need plenty of luck from gate 14 – throwing the race wide open.
The stablemate Helene Paragon fared better and will jump from barrier five, as did the John Size-trained Sun Jewellery (three), but the news isn’t as good for Tony Cruz’s Beauty Only (13).
Japan’s hope Logotype was the big winner, drawing two while fellow Japanese runners Satono Aladdin (eight) and Neorealism (nine) will start side-by-side.
Hong Kong Sprint:
Local favourite Lucky Bubbles has drawn perfectly in barrier five, which means jockey Brett Prebble should be able to give him every chance.
Japanese star Big Arthur didn’t fare as well and will have to do plenty of work from gate 13.
Past winners Peniaphobia and Aerovelocity will start from barriers one and two respectively.
Hong Kong Vase:
The favourite Highland Reel will have to overcome barrier 10 to make it back-to-back victories in the Vase.
While it’s not the ideal, the other main chances didn’t fare much better with Nuovo Record (12), Big Orange (seven) and Santono Crown (nine) all set to start from the outside half of the gates.
The winner is French stayer Silverware, who should get a nice run from barrier one.