Ryan Moore and Aidan O’Brien have made the Group One Hong Kong Vase their own in recent years and the superstar jockey believes another victory in the 2,400m contest is his best chance of adding an eighth win to his glittering record at the Longines Hong Kong International Races.
After winning the Vase with Highland Reel in 2015 and 2017, the dynamic duo will now look to double up with last year’s comprehensive victor Mogul.
“I suppose Mogul would look our best chance on paper,” said a typically circumspect Moore, admitting the four-year-old hasn’t gone close to reaching the heights of his Sha Tin heist in the 12 months since.
“He’s had a quiet year. He started in [the Dubai Sheema Classic] and he ran respectably and he then ran a good race in Paris in the [Prix] Ganay.
It's Mogul's Vase!— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) December 13, 2020
Ryan Moore & Aidan O'Brien combine to win their third HK$20 million G1 @LONGINES Hong Kong Vase after Highland Reel succeeded in 2015 + 2017. #HKIR #HKracing pic.twitter.com/eAfI3xSHhJ
“The ground was very soft at Epsom in the Coronation [Cup] and he didn’t like it and same again when he went back to Deauville [for the Prix de Reux].
“I think a few things haven’t gone quite right during summer so he’s a bit lightly raced but I think his work’s been good at home and he looks great.”
Mogul finished a long last behind Pyledriver in that Coronation Cup and will meet William Muir’s galloper again in a Vase that also features 2019 winner Glory Vase.
While Mogul descended on Hong Kong in 2020 after finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf a month earlier, this year the son of Galileo is first-up since August.
“We know he likes it at Sha Tin and he likes quick ground and I believe Aidan is very happy with him,” Moore said.
“We’re hoping he can take a step back in the right direction here – he showed a couple of times last year that he’s very talented. I still have faith that he can get back on track.”
Moore is one of four jockeys – along with Zac Purton, Joao Moreira and Gerald Mosse – to have won all four of the HKIR features and he has a presence in each of Sunday’s Group Ones.
He also partners Bolshoi Ballet (Cup) and Mother Earth (Mile) for O’Brien, while he climbs aboard John Size’s speedster Hot King Prawn in the Sprint.
On the day of his passing GALILEO sires his 92nd Gr.1 winner as Bolshoi Ballet lands the Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes for @Ballydoyle & the Coolmore partners.— Coolmore (@coolmorestud) July 10, 2021
Bred by Lynch-Bages & Rhinestone Bloodstock#CoolmoreSires #HomeOfChampions
“[Mother Earth] is a wonderful filly, she’s strong and she’s been very busy all year and late on as a two-year-old as well,” Moore said.
“She’s been consistent all year but the race on Sunday is very strong with Golden Sixty and a large Japanese contingent. It’s going to be tough for her but she’s got a nice stall (four) – it might be a quite tactical race again, I can’t see them going mad – and she gets a nice weight pull and she usually runs a good race.
“[Bolshoi Ballet] won a Grade One in America at [2,000m] and his two wins at the start of the year were over 10 furlongs, he’s obviously very happy at that distance.
“I had hopes for him, I suppose he hasn’t run a bad race lately but I would have liked to have seen a little bit more from him.
“I think the quick ground will be in his favour [but] the [Japanese pair Loves Only You and Lei Papale] bring a high level of form and are probably going to be tough to beat. I still believe there is a good horse in there, he’s a Group One winner and hopefully he will run a respectable race.”