English Raiders In Hong Kong This Weekend

English Raiders In Hong Kong This Weekend

Plenty of English and Irish trained horses will try their hands in the Far-East in the Hong Kong International Races this weekend.

The event consists of the four most prestigious horse races in Hong Kong: The Vase, The Sprint, The Mile and the Cup, all held at Sha Tin racecourse.

It is the last chance for British and Irish trainers to acquire Group One success, before the turn of the year.

Hong Kong Vase

The Hong Kong Vase is a Group One flat race ran over a distance of one-and-a-half miles. The race was first run in 1994, and currently offers a purse of HK$18,000,000.

Plenty of familiar names line up in this contest, with Arc fourth Waldgeist and Glorious Stakes winner Mirage Dancer currently heading the market.

Further down comes the likes of Sylvester Kirk-trained Salouen, who was a close second to Cracksman earlier in the season in the Coronation Cup. Latrobe could provide Joseph O'Brien with his first winner in Hong Kong, and Ireland's third in the last four years, after Highland Reel took this in both 2015 and 2017 for Joseph's dad, Aiden.

Meanwhile, Charlie Fellowes' Prince of Arran could look to follow up his excellent third in the Melbourne Cup, but drops dramatically in trip.

Hong Kong Sprint

The Hong Kong Sprint is a Group One flat race, over a distance of six furlongs. The race was first run in 1999, where it was originally contested over 1,000 metres (five furlongs).

It was richest 1,000m horse race in the world before 2006, and is now the final leg in the nine race Global Sprint Challenge series, offering a purse of HK$20,000,000.

Just the one British runner in the field, and that is the David Elsworth-trained Sir Dancealot. He has had a busy campaign, in which he has won four times - the pick of those in the Qatar Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.

Hong Kong Mile

The Hong Kong Mile is a Group One flat race, and does what it says on the tin - run over a distance of a mile (1,600 metres).

The race was first run in 1991, and it was originally titled the Hong Kong International Bowl. It currently offers a purse of HK$23,000,000.

A couple of Brit's go for the Mile contest. William Haggas is represented with One Master, who won the last race on Arc weekend (Prix de la Foret) at big odds, before a close fifth in the Breeders Cup Mile at Churchill Downs. Is surely in with a chance here, along with Beat The Bank, who landed the Celebration Mile at Goodwood at the end of August.

It would be a fitting success for the late Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who owned the King Power Ltd silks.

Hong Kong Cup

The Hong Kong Cup is a Group One flat race, over a distance of a mile-and-a-quarter (2000 miles).

The race was first run on 24 January 1988, and its distance was initially set at 1800 metres. The inaugural running was restricted to horses trained in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, before horses trained in Europe were allowed to compete in 1990, followed a year later by those from the US.

It presently offers a purse of HK$25,000,000, making it not just the richest race in Hong Kong, but also the richest 2000 metre Turf race in the world.

The Brits last won this race back in 2010 with Ed Dunlop's Snow Fairy, ridden by Ryan Moore. This year their best chance lies with their only hopeful: Stormy Antartic, trained by another Ed - Ed Walker.

This 5yo is no stranger to the international stage, with wins in France and Germany in the past twelve months. He was last seen at Sha Tin, when finishing fifth in the Champions Mile, eighteen months ago.