Oisin Murphy will not only keep the ride on Hong Kong Vase contender Salouen on December 9th at Sha Tin but UK trainer Sylvester Kirk reports that it was instant advice from the brilliant Irish rider that determined the Hong Kong adventure.
Lambourn-based Kirk said: “It was about five seconds after Oisin got off Salouen following the Arc that he suggested Hong Kong was the direction we should be heading towards.”
Murphy has ridden almost 200 winners globally during 2018 and has partnered a string of G1 winners including Roaring Lion, Benbatl, The Tin Man and Lightning Spear.
He was partnering Salouen for the first time in Europe’s greatest race and – despite a slow start and interference near the finish – the pair were beaten just three and three-quarter lengths in finishing sixth of 19 behind superstar filly Enable at ParisLongchamp in early October.
Back in June Salouen came close to a famous front-running G1 victory, only edged out of Coronation Cup glory at Epsom in the last strides.
The fact that Cracksman – who now heads the World’s Best Racehorse Rankings with Aussie supermare Winx – overcame Salouen by just a head that day gives a clue as to just how good the four-year-old can be.
Kirk took Salouen to Kempton Park racecourse earlier this week, and, with Murphy on board, he worked over 1600m. “I really don’t think Salouen has ever been better,” said the trainer, who can’t wait for his first-ever visit to Hong Kong.