Hong Kong Vase runner-by-runner betting guide, odds and tips

Hong Kong Vase betting

THE Hong Kong Vase is one of four Group one races at Sha Tin’s International Meeting this Sunday and we have a runner-by-runner guide complete with the latest odds and tips.

The international field will run over 2400m and the likes of Australian-performed Big Orange and Benzini will be looking to add their names beside the long list of past champions which includes 2016 favourite Highland Reel.

The Hong Kong Vase is the most international race held at Sha Tin with only a handful of local chances, which makes for an exciting affair.

If your horse finishes second or third in the Hong Kong Vase, Sportsbet will give up to $50 in bonus bets.


2016 Hong Kong Vase betting market

1. Highland Reel – $2
2. Silverwave – $11
3. Big Orange – $6.50
4. Satono Crown – $10
5. Helene Happy Star – $21
6. Garlingari – $31
7. One Foot In Heaven – $15
8. Quechua – $101
9. Flame Hero – $67
10. Benzini – $81
11. Eastern Express – $17
12. Anticipation – $31
13. Nuovo Record – $9
14. Smart Layer – $15

The majority of punters money has come for 2015 champion Highland Reel. It is now into $2 after being at $2.50 earlier in the week and it might start shorter.

The only other runners in single-figure odds are Big Orange which didn’t show its best form in Australia, but the bookmakers are giving it plenty of respect and Japanese star Nuovo Record is a chance at $9.

2016 Hong Kong Vase betting guide

1. Highland Reel – $2

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Jockey: Ryan Moore
Form: 212721
Barrier: 10

Aidan O’Brien has a great chance of continuing his world dominance with Highland Reel. The four-year-old is in stellar form this season and bookmakers are confident the 2015 champion can repeat.

The son of Galileo won the Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf last start at Santa Anita and it defeated the classy Flintshire and Found in doing so.

Prior to that it finished second in the Prix De I’Arc de Triomphe behind stablemate Found and it won the Group 1 King George Stakes at Ascot in July.

“Highland Reel is a very good colt, we know that. He has tactical speed, he stays, and has everything you could want really,” O’Brien said.

“He’s been a good traveller from early on in his career, he relaxes, he’s adaptable, he doesn’t overthink.” situations.

Its only poor run this year came at Sha Tin in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup and that should worry punters, but it has winning experience in Hong Kong and this field looks easier than the one it beat last year.

$2 at Sportsbet.com.au is getting short, but we’re expecting that price to shorten on race day.

2. Silverwave – $11

Trainer: Pascal Bary
Jockey: Maxime Guyon
Form: 723110
Barrier: 1

Silverwave is looking to bounce back after a poor showing in the Prix De I’Arc de Triomphe where it finished well down the track in 13th.

The son of Silver Frost had quality form prior which included a win in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint Cloud in France, but its lack of experience outside of its home country is a concern.

Trainer Pascal Bary said the four-year-old has taken to travelling well after it galloped on the all-weather track earlier this week.

“His action is good and he is very well. It is the first time he has travelled and he is taking it all in his stride,” Bary said.

“He is drawn one and I think they’ll go quite fast so that should suit him. He has had plenty of time to recover from the Arc, which stretched his stamina at that sort of relentless gallop. I think this will suit him better.”

The pace of the Hong Kong Vase will likely be slowing than that of the Arc, so we wouldn’t be ruling out the chances of Silverwave at double-figure odds.

3. Big Orange – $6.50

Trainer: Michael Bell
Jockey: Damian Lane
Form: 311×03
Barrier: 7

Big Orange
Big Orange at trackwork on Thursday in preparation for the Hong Kong Vase

The big five-year-old gelding had moderate success in Australia with a third placing in the Group 2 Zipping Classic last start.

That came behind Beautiful Romance which isn’t exactly a globetrotting superstar and its run for 10th in the Melbourne Cup was only fair.

The bookmakers have it very short in the market at $6.50 which indicates that a good run is expected. Trainer Michael Bell confirms those expectations.

“He’s very fit and we don’t need to do much with him so he won’t be breaking any land speed records before Sunday,” Bell said.

“Anyhow, I’m very pleased with him.”

Big Orange will likely settle near the pace and use its size to bullock its way to the front at some stage in the straight.

4. Satono Crown – $10

Trainer: Noriyuki Hori
Jockey: Joao Moreira
Form: 106×0
Barrier: 9

Japanese thoroughbreds are always tough to beat on the international stage which is why Satono Crown is rated a $10 chance at CrownBet.com.au.

The four-year-old is looking to bounce back after a poor effort in the Group 1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) last start when it finished well down the track behind Maurice.

Its form prior included a win in the Group 2 Kyoto Kinen which is typically a good form race for major international events like this, but it had the chance to show its worth against the very best in the Arc and it failed to impress.

The positive is that champion jockey Joao Moreira has taken the ride. That has likely affected its odds as anything he rides gets well backed. Take that into consideration and we think $10 is too short for the unproven colt.

5. Helene Happy Star – $21

Trainer: John Moore
Jockey: Hugh Bowman
Form: 57×904
Barrier: 6

There doesn’t appear to be much confidence around Helene Happy Star which hasn’t won since October 2015.

The locally-trained gelding has only placed twice in 13 starts since that win in the Queen Mother Memorial Cup, but both placings were top quality.

It finished third in the Group 1 Champions & Charter Cup at Sha Tin last year and in its second run this year it finished second in the Group 1 Hong Kong Gold Cup.

Its form since has been anything but inspiring and it was unable to repeat its efforts in the Champions & Charter Cup where it finished fifth behind Blazing Speed, but it has the home track advantage and it could get support from each way punters.

6. Garlingari – $31

Trainer: Corine Barande-Barbe
Jockey: Stephane Pasquier
Form: 25434x
Barrier: 8

Garlingari’s form in France is solid without being outstanding. The five-year-old won consecutive group races earlier this year and its best finish since was a second placing behind One Foot In Heaven.

That came in the Grand Prix de Chantilly, but considering One Foot In Heaven is a $15 chance for the Hong Kong Vase, it’s hard to see that form being considered as strong leading into this.

It followed that run with a fifth behind Silverwave in the Group 1 Saint Cloud, but it would need to improve a few lengths to figure in the finish.

It ran 56.8 seconds over 800m at track work on Thursday and its trainer believes its going well.

“The horse is moving well and will canter on the turf on Friday,” Barande-Barbe said.

7. One Foot In Heaven – $15

Trainer: Alain de Royer-Dupre
Jockey: Christophe Soumillon
Form: 116461
Barrier: 4

One Foot In Heaven returned sub-optimal blood tests when it arrived in Hong Kong which has created doubt in punters minds.

The four-year-old colt by Fastnet Rock was a last start winner in the Group 2 Prix Du Conseil de Paris and by all accounts its health has improved throughout the week.

“He is doing better each day but we will know more tomorrow. Nothing is sure at the moment. If the blood tests continue to improve he should be fine,” Royer-Dupre said.

Hong Kong Jockey Club chief steward Kim Kelly agreed with its trainers thoughts.

“Dr. Peter Curl has advised the Stewards that One Foot In Heaven, which was previously reported to have shown evidence of a blood abnormality upon routine post-arrival health screening, has improved with treatment and accordingly, has been declared for the aforementioned race,” Kelly said.

It finished sixth in the Arc which is a great form guide and if it’s able to put the health issues behind it and get in enough work, it could upset them at $15 with Bet365.com.


8. Quechua – $101

Trainer: Patrick Shaw
Jockey: Barend Voster
Form: 110625
Barrier: 14

As the odds suggest, it’s hard to make a case for the Singapore entrant. Quechua is a former top-liner in Singapore which is out of form and we’re not sure it should be contesting this race.

It finished fifth in the Singapore Gold Cup last start behind some average talent and the only form we can recommend was its third placing in the International Cup behind Dan Excel and Military Attack, but that came in 2015.

Jockey Barend Voster rode the six-year-old at track work on Thursday and commented on its manner.

“He was nice and relaxed this morning, which was what we wanted. I’m happy enough with the way he is right now,” Vorster said.

It also worked on Wednesday an assistant trainer Ricardo Le Grange thinks it can handle the class of the Hong Kong Vase.

“He was striding out nicely and that’s about what we wanted to see from him this morning,” Le Grange said.

“He did run third in the Singapore International behind Dan Excel last year and on that you’d think he’s up to the class.

“He’s a bit older now, of course, but he’s a real trier and the trip is going to suit him. He’s an out and out stayer.”

9. Flame Hero – $67

Trainer: Peter Ho
Jockey: Zac Purton
Form: 23×002
Barrier: 5

Flame Hero is a son of Savabeel which which turned some poor form around with a last start placing in the Group 2 Jockey Club Cup.

The locally-trained runner ran second behind Secret Weapon and it was good enough to beat home the classy Military Attack. That came after two poor runs in the Sha Tin Trophy and the Ladies Purse, and it’s a type which could fire up on any given day.

The odds suggests it’s got very little chance of winning and that should be the case. It hasn’t won since January when winning the January Cup over Romantic Touch, but if it can put everything together on the day, the $67 at CrownBet could be worth a dabble.

10. Benzini – $81

Trainer: Adrian and Harry Bull
jockey: Rosie Myers
Form: 14×625
Barrier: 11

Kiwi mare Benzini is a lightweight chance in the Hong Kong Vase at big odds

Benzini is a New Zealand runner which shouldn’t be ruled out at $81. The seven-year-old has had three runs this preparation for one placing which came at Ellerslie, but this distance is now ideal.

Its last start over 2400m came in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup where it defeated a quality field which included Sir John Hawkwood and Junoob.

It has won 11 races from 42 starts which means punters have made some good money off it and it will settle back in the field before picking a path through as they near the turn.

The major concern is having Rosie Myers in the saddle which is a decision we can’t get our head around. Her lack of international experience and the hustle and bustle of riding in Hong Kong could be too much for the young Kiwi.

11. Eastern Express – $17

Trainer: John Size
Jockey: Silvestre De Sousa
Form: 2×236
Barrier: 2

Eastern Express has been specked in the market at $17 and it could give each way punters something to shout for in the straight.

The locally-trained gelding has won three from 13 starts and it hasn’t won since January this year, but its run for third in the Hong Kong Classic Cup behind Sun Jewellery was good and it wasn’t far behind Horse of Fortune in the Ladies Purse.

The son of Fastnet Rock has always indicated that it would prefer running over this distance and trainer John Size agrees.

“Well, he’s unknown at the 2400m – we don’t get much experience at those distances but he’s always given every indication that he’d run it so now’s the time we get to test him and hopefully he runs well,” Size said.

It will get an easy trip from barrier two and we wouldn’t rule it out at $17 with Sportsbet.com.au.

12. Anticipation – $31

Trainer: Tony Cruz
Jockey: Neil Callan
Form: 65×157
Barrier: 3

Anticipation is a son of Fastnet Rock which has won only one race from 24 starts in Hong Kong, but it remains a long-shot chance in the market.

It kicked off this preparation with its first win in Hong Kong when beating race-rival Eastern Express, but it wasn’t able to back that performance up in two starts since.

The connections had a big opinion of Anticipation last year, but the Anticipation is slowly becoming less-and-less exciting. It’s simply not running well enough to win the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase and we would be surprised if it featured in the placings.

13. Nuovo Record – $9

Trainer: Makoto Saito
Jockey: Yasunari Iwata
Form: 66×401
Barrier: 12

Nuovo Record has been heavily-backed into $9 after settling at $10 throughout the week.

The Japanese star comes into this having won the Group 3 Red Carpet Handicap which followed up a poor showing in the Breeders’ Cup Fillies & Mares Turf at Santa Anita.

It hasn’t won since taking out the Group 2 Nakayama Kinen in March last year and that’s a major worry for punters prepared to take the single-figure quote.

Stable representative Hideyuki Obara is planning to keep the mare in top condition before Sunday’s race.

“We pushed her a bit in the final stages of her work today as planned. She has been eating and drinking very well so we have been working her accordingly to keep her at peak condition,” Obara said.

We would have a flutter at double-figure odds, but the risk isn’t worth the reward at $9.

14. Smart Layer – $15

Trainer: Ryuji Okubo
Jockey: Yutaka Take
Form: 5114×3
Barrier: 13

The Japanese entrants are getting plenty of respect in the betting and Smart Layer is no different.

The six-year-old mare by Deep Impact gets in with a light weight of 55.3kg following its consistent form this campaign which included a Group two win in Japan.

This will be its fifth start of 2016 and the lightly-tried type has been working well throughout the week.

“I did not push her too much this morning, but she had great speed and responded well. She has eaten up well and keeps good condition,” assistant trainer Kota Kato said.

It has drawn barrier 13 which isn’t ideal, but Take said the long run into the first corner should allow it to get over.

“The outside has no issue as there is some distance to the first corner. We will leave the strategy to jockey Yutaka Take,” Kato added.

2016 Hong Kong Vase tips

1st – Highland Reel
2nd – Silverwave
3rd – Big Orange
4th – Nuovo Record
Include in multiples – Benzini

Highland Reel is the clear standout pick as its form is superior to the rest of the field.

The 2015 Hong Kong Vase champion is at even money to win this year and there should be plenty of money running through the Aidan O’Brien-trained runner.

We’re including French entrant Silverwave and Japanese mare Nuovo Record which continues to tumble in the betting.

Our best each way chance is Benzini ($81 with WilliamHill.com.au). It could sit off a hot tempo and launch late.

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