Dubai Sheema Classic winner Hawkbill will become the first foreign-trained horse to contest the Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup next month, with Godolphin stablemate Blue Point, and not Jungle Cat, to run in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize on April 29.
Trainer Charlie Appleby had already made plans for Hawkbill to come to Sha Tin for the 2,400m Group One on May 27 and the five-year-old’s dominant all-the-way win on World Cup night confirmed the trip.
Blue Point was a late scratching from the Al Quoz Sprint after being found to have blood in his nostrils behind the starting gates, but Appleby said check-ups confirmed the problem was not a case of exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhaging.
“Blue Point must have given his head a bang at some stage during the afternoon and it sat there in his sinus,” Appleby told Racing Post in England. “Going to post it caused enough pressure to pop a little blood vessel. We scoped him immediately after he got back and he was clean down his trachea, which is how we establish a proper bleed.”
The up-and-coming sprint star, who was set to jump favourite in the Al Quoz, will now chase a stud-career boosting Group One title at Sha Tin en route to Royal Ascot.
Stablemate Jungle Cat won the Al Quoz and was also entered for the Chairman’s Sprint Prize but will now head to Australia later in the year, with Hong Kong’s quarantine restrictions meaning a stopover is not possible.
“We were going to see how things panned out on World Cup night and, now Jungle Cat has his Group One tag, he’ll probably head to Australia in the spring for some of the seven furlong options,” said Appleby, adding that Blue Point will head to Royal Ascot after Hong Kong.
Godolphin will still have two runners in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize after Godolphin Japan’s Fine Needle also accepted an invite after his victory in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen in Japan.
Hawkbill is a proven traveller with placings in Canada and Germany, but Appleby said the horse saved his best for Meydan.
“Hawkbill thrives every winter in Dubai where the trackwork suits him,” he said. “He’s developing into an old school Godolphin horse at Group One level.”