A dozen of Hong Kong’s premier gallopers have been entered for the Dubai World Cup meeting in March.
While multiple Group One winners Beauty Generation and Pakistan Star are unlikely to make the trip, they have been nominated – both for the Dubai Turf and the latter for the World Cup as well – and there are a host of other intriguing runners that could head to Meydan for the extravaganza on March 30.
Tony Millard has entered three runners for the meeting, with two-time South African Group One winner Northern Superstar and Classic Cup hero Singapore Sling in the mix for the Dubai Turf (1,800m), while dirt specialist Elusive State is down for both the Dubai World Cup (2,000m) and the Group Two Godolphin Mile (1,600m).
The Group One Dubai Sheema Classic (2,400m on turf) has three nominations – Tony Cruz’s Hong Kong Vase champion Exultant, the Richard Gibson-trained Gold Mount and John Moore’s Eagle Way, who is also entered for the World Cup.
Of the short-course specialists, Gibson’s Wishful Thinker and David Hall’s Little Giant are possibilities for the Group One Al Quoz Sprint (1,200m on turf), while the latter is also in the running for the Group One Golden Shaheen (1,200m on dirt), alongside Fight Hero from the Me Tsui Yu-sak stable.
The only horse set for an extended stint in the United Arab Emirates is Southern Legend, who is entered for the Firebreak Stakes on February 14, the Group Two Zabeel Mile the following week as well as the Group Three Burj Nahaar and the Group One Jebel Hatta on March 9.
Trainer Caspar Fownes, who has already said he is planning on going, has kept his options open, with the six-year-old also among nominations for the Dubai Turf and Godolphin Mile on World Cup night.
Hong Kong did not have a presence at last year’s event and it has been five years since a Sha Tin-based galloper prevailed at Dubai’s top meeting.
There were two successes on that occasion, with Ricky Yiu Poon-fai’s Amber Sky saluting in the Al Quoz Sprint and Moore’s Sterling City taking out the Golden Shaheen.
Before that, Joy And Fun won the Al Quoz in 2010, while the David Ferraris-trained Vengeance Of Rain captured the 2007 Sheema Classic.
Michael Chang Chun-wai’s Rich Tapestry was Hong Kong’s most recent winner in the UAE, tasting victory in the Group Three Al Shindangha Sprint in February 2016.