The Jockey Club remains uncertain whether Conghua-based horses will make it to Sha Tin for Sunday’s key Champions Day lead-up races.

Francis Lui Kin-wai is hoping to send Lucky Patch to the races for the first time since he fell as the favourite in December’s Hong Kong Sprint but the five-year-old is one of the 272 gallopers stuck in China after cross-border horse movement was halted because of the Covid-19 situation in Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

Lucky Patch is among 11 entries for the Group Two Sprint Cup (1,200m), while Mighty Giant and Kings Shield are targeting the other Group Two contest on the card – the Chairman’s Trophy (1,600m) – but are also biding their time north of the border as Jockey Club officials work with government to try and resume transport.

The trio and a string of other Conghua-based gallopers that have been entered for Sunday’s meeting would need a resolution to the impasse by Thursday to take their place on the weekend.

Regardless of whether Lucky Patch makes it down this weekend, Lui will push onto the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1,200m) on April 24 with his 118-rated galloper after he was among the Champions Day entries released by the Jockey Club on Monday afternoon.

Top-level winners Wellington, Sky Field, Hot King Prawn and Stronger headline the Chairman’s Sprint Prize, while Hong Kong Derby runner-up California Spangle is also on the list.

Master Eight, Courier Wonder, Computer Patch, Lucky Express, Super Wealthy, Majestic Star, Kurpany, Sight Success and Winning Dreamer also have their sights set on the third and final 1,200m Group One of the season.

Caspar Fownes confirmed reigning Hong Kong Sprint champion Sky Field is likely to skip this weekend’s Sprint Cup and attack the Chairman’s Sprint Prize fresh.

“I probably won’t run him on Sunday, he’ll probably go straight into the Group One,” Fownes said.

“He’s well but I just think with the terms of this race, given he’s a Group One winner he’s got to give pounds away to a couple of decent horses and I just think he’s a good horse fresh, so we’ll take them on at the end of the month.

“He’s got some little issues – muscular more than anything – but he’s fine to run, he could run and be still be very competitive but I will make a decision this week whether I bypass this race or not. It’s still up in the air but in my heart I’ll probably skip it and go into the Group One fresh.”

Despite being entered for the sprint, California Spangle appears more likely to head towards the Champions Mile and a mouthwatering clash with superstar Golden Sixty and three-time Group One winner Waikuku.

More Than This, Cheerful Days, Excellent Proposal, Champion’s Way, Healthy Happy, Mighty Giant, Kings Shield and Ka Ying Star are also there, with the latter also holding a nomination for the QE II Cup (2,000m).

The QE II Cup – Hong Kong’s third-richest race at HK$25 million – shapes as a showdown between Gold Cup winner Russian Emperor and Derby hero Romantic Warrior, while Champions & Chater Cup victor Panfield is also there.

Tourbillon Diamond, Savvy Nine, Butterfield, Columbus County, Zebrowski and Reliable Team round out the entries.

O’Sullivan targets all-weather meeting at Sha Tin with Duke Wai and Apache Pass

Fownes will take a similar approach with his pair Zebrowski and Columbus County as he is likely to take with Sky Field, attacking the marquee meeting fresh, but hopes the border impasse doesn’t stretch on long enough to impact Hong Kong’s second-biggest race day.

“They’re both very well but they’re stuck in China so we’ve got our fingers crossed. Hopefully they’ll get that sorted in the next week,” he said.