Track notes for 2017 Hong Kong International Race Day

Hugh Bowman & Lucky Bubbles win Chairmans Sprint
Hugh Bowman celebrates crossing the line on Lucky Bubbles in the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize.

AS the spotlight shines on Sha Tin this Sunday for the Hong Kong International Race Day, we’ve compiled all the last-minute notes from track work as the big fancies have their final gallops before the Group 1 features.

If you’re having a punt on the Hong Kong Mile, Hong Kong Vase, Hong Kong Sprint or Hong Kong Cup, you’ll find all the information you need at

If you are having a bet, don’t forget to claim your bonus bet offers to give you plenty of extra bang for your betting buck.

Hong Kong Cup

[rmOC_events_list event_ids=1175450_08]


Reportedly very fit, she did her final piece of work breezing around the all-weather track under work rider Leanne Masterton. She clocked 24.6s (12.6, 12.0) for her final 400m.

Sunday’s rider, Oisin Murphy, said: “No one wants to be drawn high, but hopefully they’ll go fast and I’ll be able to get a good position. Andrew (Balding) is great to ride for and will leave it up to me. Blond Me has kept on surprising me, and seems in great form for this. Neorealism could be the one to beat.” Murphy, 22, has ridden 122 winners in the UK this year plus overseas victories including his first career G1 win with Aclaim at Chantilly, swiftly followed by Blond Me’s G1 E P Taylor Stakes victory at Woodbine.


Completed his preparations under Gary O’Connor with an undemanding gallop on the all-weather track going 400m in 27.6s (14.6, 13.0).


Trainer Corine Barande-Barbe sent Garlingari out onto the turf track but work rider Zoe Gargoulaud asked no serious questions of the six-year-old.

Barande-Barbe said: “Walking on grass is better for the horses than going on the artificial surface and, since you have the right to go on the turf course twice during the week, we thought we’d make use of it. He had a light exercise on it Thursday and this was just to go for a little stroll and to look at the public that had come out. There is no problem with him at all and he is ready to run.”


Cantered comfortably on the turf.

Trainer Noriyuki Hori said: “The all-weather track seems to be slightly firmer than it was in April. The turf condition is much better and I have decided to work him on turf this morning. He had an easy canter, and all has gone smoothly. Even after the breeze, he has kept his good form and he is ready for Sunday.”


Easy canter on the turf track this morning after his impressive 800m gallop yesterday.

Trainer Sir Michael Stoute said: “It’s a tough race, as it’s entitled to be given its value, and the draw is less than ideal from this start (2000m). However, he’s a very consistent fellow who’s in good order and the team’s been happy with him this week. Drawing widest of all remains the concern.”


On the all-weather track, he did some faster work than earlier in the week. He recorded 30s (15.2, 14.8) for his final 400m.

Trainer Harry Dunlop said: “All well.”


Cantered on the small inner all-weather.


Cantered one and a half laps around the Sha Tin all-weather course.

Trainer Ryuji Okubo said: “We sent her out today to keep her loose for the race tomorrow. She was moving quite well and seems to have really settled into her new surroundings well this year.”


Worked one and a half laps around the Sha Tin all-weather track, completing 800m in 57.4s (15.6, 15.2, 13.4, 13.2).

Assistant trainer Kazuo Fujiwara said: “He was very relaxed today. He is primed and ready for his race tomorrow.”


Cantered on the all-weather.


Rounded off his preparations with a leisurely gallop on the all-weather track, clocked over 400m in 30.2s (15.2, 15.0).


Cantered two laps on the small inner all-weather under race day rider Tommy Berry.

Trainer John Moore said: “He’s done everything that we could ask of him. He worked well on Thursday – he just doesn’t like getting beaten, he’s all heart. After the gallop on Thursday, he did have a blow but he recovered very quickly. That gallop was important. Tommy’s been on him every morning on the small track and he’s in good form. He’s got a good draw and I can see him getting the gun run and he’s a big chance.”

Hong Kong Mile

[rmOC_events_list event_ids=1175450_07]


Beauty Generation

Cantered on the all-weather under jockey Derek Leung.

Trainer John Moore said: “He’s done well in the stable. He’s going into the race with exemplary form.”

Jockey Derek Leung said: “He’s fresh and happy, he’s a really fit horse and I’m expecting him to run a big race.”


Cantered on the small inner all-weather.


Cantered on the small inner all-weather.

Trainer John Size said: “He wasn’t training well when I started in August. He had a trip to Japan and a couple of months off and that looked like it wasn’t enough time for him to recuperate, so I gave him another month. Since he started work and trialling again, he’s been normal. He looks fresh and well and he’s in good condition. I think he’ll run well, he’s lacking a race but this race has been won by a horse first-up before (Size’s Glorious Days, who won fresh in 2013). He’s won two international Group 1 races so with that, you’d think he’s capable of winning a third.”


Cantered on the small inner all-weather under race day rider Tommy Berry.

Trainer John Moore said: “His work over the past week hasn’t been up to expectations. His barrier trial was poor – we thought that was down to the headgear but then his work on Thursday – that really wasn’t the gallop we wanted. He didn’t go and challenge his lead horse – even though that’s a very good lead horse, he didn’t travel upsides and get into the steel. From that point of view, the jury’s out. It’s a shame because his last run, he only bottomed the last 20 to 30 metres, giving five pounds to Seasons Bloom. We had very high hopes and just over the last week he’s working lacklustre. It could be because he’s a colt, but then he’s always been such a level-headed horse, he normally concentrates and enjoys what he does. I just hope that we’re wrong and on the day he races competitively and really hits the line.”


Cantered on the small inner all-weather.

Trainer Tony Millard said: “I’m very happy. I think Horse Of Fortune is the dark horse in this race because he’s certainly showed us that he’s stepped up this season. His run behind Maurice last year (in the Cup) was a very good run and he comes right at this time of the year. He’s exceptionally well. The draw is not the best.”


Cantered on the small inner all-weather.

Trainer John Moore said: “He’s been below his best so we’re not sure how he’s going to perform on the day.”


Karar has been vying with Talismanic (Vase) for the lightest workload this week and once again did a leisurely tour of the all-weather on Saturday, recording 800m in 1m 01.4s (15.8, 15.8, 15.0, 14.8). Joining trainer Francis Graffard on the rails to observe was Rupert Pritchard-Gordon, representative in France for owners Al Shaqab Racing and a regular visitor to Hong Kong.

Owner’s representative Rupert Pritchard-Gordon said: “It will be different to the Breeders’ Cup where we had to take him back because of the wide draw whereas here, with quite a run to the turn, we’ll probably look to make use of his low stall number [three] and then just see what is happening around him. He is a big-striding horse that is happy on or near the pace and, whether he is good or not, we will find out. We seriously respect the opposition and the local horses are at the top of their game this time of the year. Karar has run to his best form with his last two runs in the Prix de la Foret and the Breeders’ Cup Mile, which was a hell of a run. But this is a different ball game and I think Helene Paragon is a great horse, while Lancaster Bomber always turns up.”


Had his final gallop on the all-weather track for Seamie Heffernan.

Pat Keating, travelling head lad to Aidan O’Brien, said: “He’s in good form. His draw may not be great, but I think he can hit the board.”


The four-time G1-placed six-year-old limbered up on the all-weather under usual work rider Jenny Simcock, recording 30.8s (15.4, 15.4) for 400m.

Kevin Darley, international racing manager for Qatar Racing Ltd, said: “He is more relaxed now than earlier in the week and certainly looks well.”

Oisin Murphy, Sunday’s jockey, commented: “He’s right up to this level at his best, and I’m happy with my draw but we’ll need luck.”


Completed her preparations with a breeze on the all-weather track under Richella Carroll going 400m in 25.2s (13.0, 12.2).

Pat Keating, travelling head lad to Aidan O’Brien, said: “Her draw is a problem, but if she can overcome that, she won’t be far away.”


Worked for a lap over the all-weather track.

Trainer Yasutoshi Ikee said: “He has had a good preparation heading into Sunday’s race. All has gone well. We have done our best and now we leave the rest to the gods.”


Cantered on the small inner all-weather.


Cantered on the small inner all-weather.

Trainer Tony Millard said: “Sichuan Dar has just amazed me, because he’s got his confidence and he’s just continued to improve. Beverly (Millard, who regularly rides his work) is very happy with him, she says he has found another leg. He just wants to go, he’s like elastic. If Nash (Rawiller) can get him in the right place, then he’ll be a chance, because he can finish off, he’s got a proper turn of foot.”


Cantered on the small inner all-weather.

Trainer John Size said: “He’s only a lightly-raced horse so it’s possible for him to improve again. He would need to improve a lot to win the race.”

Hong Kong Sprint

[rmOC_events_list event_ids=1175450_05]


Cantered on the small inner all-weather.


Cantered on the small inner all-weather.

Trainer Ricky Yiu: “He’s in good form for Sunday.”


Cantered on the small inner all-weather.


Remained in the quarantine stables, exercising on the trotting track.

Groom Yoshiaki Terada said: “We walked and hacked her for a little over an hour and a half this morning. She has lost a little weight but she seems to be doing well.”


Cantered on the small inner all-weather.


Cantered on the small inner all-weather.


Cantered on the main all-weather under race day rider Tommy Berry.

Trainer John Moore said: “He’s done everything right. He’s moving well, he seems to be peaking at the right time but he’s just a length off the best.”


Remained in the quarantine stables as planned.


Cantered on the small inner all-weather.


After his Friday breeze on the turf Signs Of Blessing enjoyed a quiet morning back in the quarantine stables but trainer Francois Rohaut was able to report a clean bill of health, with the symptoms of travel-related stress from earlier in the week now all behind his charge.

Rohaut said: “All the problems of earlier in the week are forgotten. He did a nice canter yesterday on the grass and I didn’t need to see any more from him today. The vet gave me all the reassurance I needed yesterday evening and the horse is really very well. I am reasonably optimistic about his chances and it is now all up to Stephane [Pasquier] to do his job. I expect him to run up to form.”


Cantered on the all-weather track and was again paddock schooled this morning.


This year’s G1 Al Quoz Sprint hero finished off his preparation with an easy canter on the all-weather, watched by trainer Didier Guillemin and race day rider Francois-Xavier Bertras. Another interested spectator was Thierry Delegue of Pegase Bloodstock, part-owners of The Right Man.

Part-owner Thierry Delegue said: “The horse is in good condition and only ran on November 1. He gets himself ready for a race very easily and doesn’t take a lot of work. The horse was in really good shape when he went to Ascot but it was a very rough race and he suffered a pelvic problem. It was a bad experience and he was restricted to very light exercise for three or four weeks, which explains why he lacked a bit in Deauville.”
The Right Man appeared to thrive on the rain-softened ground when winning at both Meydan and Maisons-Laffitte but Delegue doesn’t expect the firmer underfoot conditions to be a negative on Sunday: “He doesn’t need soft going as an absolute precondition and goes on all types of ground. He has a very low, skimming action and more than the state of the ground he needs a flat track that hasn’t been over-raced. This is perfect.”


Cantered on the small inner all-weather.

Hong Kong Vase

[rmOC_events_list event_ids=1175450_04]


One of the first horses to arrive on the all-weather track, he looked in good shape, recording his final 400m in 24.4s (12.8, 11.6). Those watching included Kevin Darley – international racing manager for Qatar Racing Ltd – and tomorrow’s big race rider Oisin Murphy.

Racing manager Kevin Darley said: “He’s missed out on one or two opportunities because of slow ground this year. He’ll like conditions here and should run well.”

Jockey Oisin Murphy said: “If Highland Reel runs up to his best he’ll be hard to beat but he’s had a tough season. And you have to respect Talismanic and Kiseki but I’m expecting a big show from Chemical Charge. He’s ground-dependent and these conditions will suit.”


Walked and trotted around the quarantine stables.

Travelling head lad Tony Gorman said: “He’s done all he needs to do.”


Cantered two laps on the small inner all-weather under race rider Tommy Berry.


Cantered on the small inner all-weather.


Remained in the trotting ring at a canter.


Completed his preparations for Sunday with a breeze on the all-weather track under his regular rider Davy Bergin going 400m in 23.6s (11.4, 12.2).

Pat Keating, travelling head lad to Aidan O’Brien, said: “That’s it. The work’s all done now. He’s our best shot and I think he can win on Sunday.”


Had an easy canter for a lap over the all-weather track, completing 600m in 45.2s (16.4, 14.8, 14.0).

Trainer Katsuhiko Sumii said: “I wanted to see for myself how relaxed he was during his canter and he looked very well.”


Cantered on the all-weather track.


The South African mare cantered on the all-weather track, clocking 26.2s for 400m (13.4, 12.8).

Trainer Sir Michael Stoute said: “She faces a tough assignment here but she’s entitled to have her shot. She is better than how her form card looks. Nothing has really gone right for her since she’s come to us. Things didn’t go right first time out at York, nor at Deauville where she probably should have won and the ground was against her last time. She’s well.”


Among the likely favourites, Talismanic barely broke out of a galop de chasse (hack canter) under the watchful eye of trainer Andre Fabre, recording 1m 17.6s (15.6, 15.4, 16.0, 14.4, 16.2) for 1000m. Talismanic will be attempting to confirm Breeders’ Cup Turf form with Highland Reel, who Fabre views as the main obstacle.

Trainer Andre Fabre said: “It looks on form that Talismanic and Highland Reel are the horses to beat. It could be a tactical race between the two and I hope we are not too far from wherever he is.”


This year’s Melbourne Cup seventh completed two easy laps of the all-weather track, his final 600m of 43.4s (14.6, 14.6, 14.2) topping him off nicely.

The work elicited a thumbs-up from trainer Alain Couetil, who said simply: “Everything is fine.”


Cantered one and a half laps around the Sha Tin all-weather course, completing his last 800m in 58.4s (15.8, 15.4, 14.4, 12.8).

Assistant trainer Kazuo Fujiwara said: “He was very relaxed out on the track today. He should be ready for a big performance tomorrow.”

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments