Undeclared illness could derail Kiseki’s HK Vase hopes

JAPANESE import Kiseki looks set to have a few hurdles to jump through if it is to compete in the Hong Kong Vase this Sunday after local stewards found the horse to be suffering from a skin condition.

The $4 co-favourite at Ladbrokes to win the group one feature was found on arrival in Hong Kong to have a fungal skin infection on his left front leg and rump commonly known as “ringworm”.

In a statement released by Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Chief Stipendiary Steward Kim Kelly, the star three-year-old “was immediately segregated from all other horses in the Club’s quarantine facility”.

The statement read that the HKJC were “unaware” of any issues pertaining to Keseki prior to its arrival.

“The Club was not informed of the horse’s skin condition prior to departure from Japan and therefore was unaware of the matter until Kiseki arrived in Hong Kong.

“When an examination of the horse by the Club’s veterinarian established the presence of the skin condition.”

If the Japanese star is unable to take its place in the race, Irish invader Highland Reel, which is the current $4 favourite alongside Kiseki at Crownbet to win the Hong Kong Vase, should start as an odds-on elect in the group one feature.

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The statement went on to say the could be ramifications for the connections of Kiseki following the failure to declare the skin condition.

“This issue should have been reported at the time of the routine pre-travel veterinary inspection before approval for departure from Japan.

“This issue will be raised with the relevant Racing Authority.”

Ringworm, or dermatophytosis, is a fungal skin infection caused by a dermatophyte fungus. The fungus infects dead tissue in the superficial layers of the skin. The spores of the fungus eat away at the horse’s hair, resulting in balding patches across the coat.

Infected horses are isolated and typically it’s not recommended that they are ridden until the infection has cleared.

The Kim Kelly statement said there are no guarantees Kiseki will take its place in the Hong Kong Vase.

“Biological samples taken from the affected areas have been submitted for laboratory analysis, and the horse is currently under treatment with routine antifungal medications as a precaution.

“Kiseki’s condition and response to treatment will be closely monitored by the Club’s veterinary departments.

“Further, additional samples will be taken for analysis to confirm the horse’s suitability to be declared for the aforementioned race.”