One of the widest-margin winners of the season will attempt to win the biggest race at this season’s final meeting at Sha Tin on Saturday.
New Zealand import Bourbonaire broke through in Hong Kong on his last start when finishing six lengths clear of runner-up Money Catcher and he will attempt to follow up that success in the Class One Hong Kong Racehorse Owners Association Trophy (1,600m).
The five-year-old’s victory came just over a couple of weeks ago on yielding ground over 200m further than Saturday’s contest and the galloper is able to compete in this 115-90-rated race after being raised 11 pounds for his romp.
He can be expected to make all the running and due to the conditions of the race, he carries less weight than he did on his last start.
Bourbonaire appears to hold the best chance of John Size’s three runners in the race.
The 11-time champion trainer is poised to miss out on this season’s title after a willing battle with his former assistant Frankie Lor Fu-chuen, who he trails 90-84, but is still throwing everything at this meeting with 12 runners on the card.
If Bourbonaire does fade late, Size will hope that Excellent Proposal or Champion’s Way can pick up the pieces.
Excellent Proposal has proved expensive to follow this season, being beaten at odds of $3.1 or shorter in four starts this season, and he looks to be up against it once more, while Champion’s Way has picked up one win this season when winning over course and distance in March and has been largely consistent throughout.
Lor also saddles three runners and he might be most reliant upon veteran Kings Shield if he is to appear in the winner’s enclosure.
The seven-year-old finished last in the Group One Stewards’ Cup in January and has reserved his best performances for the dirt, winning on that surface on his reappearance in October and finishing second to Berlin Tango in his last start in May.
It’s hard to see Lor’s Money Catcher reversing form with Bourbonaire after their last encounter and Celestial Power, who won twice earlier in the season, needs to bounce back from a disappointing run in which he was beaten more than 31 lengths.
Three trainers provide the majority of runners for this contest, with Douglas Whyte joining Lor and Size in having more than one contender.
🏆 Hong Kong Gold Cup (G1)— 𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙𝙍𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 (@WorldRacing1) February 20, 2022
2000m, 12.000.000 HKD, for 5yo+
Russian Emperor (IRE)
(5G Galileo - Atlantic Jewel, by Fastnet Rock)
J : B. Shinn
T :D.J. Whyte
O : Mike Cheung Shun Ching
B : @coolmorestud
🥈Savvy Nine (Anodin)
🥉Golden Sixty (Medaglia D'oro) pic.twitter.com/DGUiEYMDOJ
Turin Redsun deserves to have a Hong Kin win on his CV after a string of decent efforts. After finishing in the top six in every leg of the four-year-old series, including a second in the Classic Cup, Turin Redsun has hit the placings in his next three starts and was a good runner-up to Tourbillon Diamond at Group Three level last time.
Whyte also fields Savvy Nine, who probably holds the best piece of form on show this season after finishing second to Russian Emperor in the Group One Gold Cup, one place ahead of Golden Sixty.
Third to those two rivals in the Group Two Chairman’s Trophy, his form suggests he should be involved at the death.
Group Two winner Mighty Giant, the progressive Fantastic Treasure and the Tony Cruz-trained California Ten complete the field.