LONGINES Hong Kong Cup



Walked down the straight to be paddock schooled.



Cantered one lap of the small (inner) all-weather track under Alvin Ng.



Cantered two laps of the small (inner) all-weather track.



Cantered a lap of the Sha Tin all-weather track under work rider Amelie Foulon, leading compatriot One Foot In Heaven in a gentle exercise. Covered 800m in 51.9s (14.0, 13.9, 11.7, 12.3).

Andre Fabre’s head man Richard Lambert said: “These last few canters are just to maintain his form but he is in really good condition. We were all very happy with the way he went this morning and Amelie said she felt good.”



Galloped 800m on the all-weather track in 56.2s (31.6, 24.6).

Trainer Tony Millard said: “He worked over 800 metres and it was nice work. He strode out well and he’s bonny and happy. He’s got an awkward draw (10) though.”



Exercised in the quarantine stables trotting ring.

Trainer Yasutoshi Ikee said: “He has never had a temperament issue anywhere he has been. He is behaving himself like at home.  He is adaptable and moved beautifully this morning. He is eating well.”



Worked in the quarantine stables trotting ring and had barrier practice.

Trainer Noriyuki Hori said: “Maurice and Satono Crown trotted a bit in the quarantine area before practicing in the gate. Everything went soothingly. Everything is going as planned.”



Cantered on turf under work rider Yusuke Yoshimoto and paddock schooled.

Trainer Keiji Yoshimura said: “She was very flexible and cantered nicely this morning. She stood still in the gate and was relaxed when she walked in the paddock for schooling. She will have to start from the gate in front of the grandstand, with a big crowd, in the Hong Kong Cup, but she will be able to handle it. Everything has gone well so far.”



Worked 800m in 54.3s (29.4, 24.9) under big-race rider Zac Purton.

Purton said. “I rode him this morning and it felt quite good to me. He’s not a flash track worker. He’s got that high head carriage and the short little choppy action but he is what he is and he feels good within himself.

“It was a good win last time. Normally our staying races are run at a pretty moderate tempo and develop into a sprint home and he’s been unlucky in quite a few races. He’s still lightly-raced and he’s always shown he has some ability and last start they rolled along and I think that really suited him – it helped him to relax and he had a really good turn-of-foot at the finish. He put them away quite comfortably. It appears as if we might get a race run in a similar fashion and, if so, hopefully he can reproduce that run.”



Parade ring schooling.



Cantered one lap of the small (inner) all-weather track.


LONGINES Hong Kong Mile



Cantered one lap of the all-weather track.



Cantered one lap of the small (inner) all-weather track.



Cantered one lap of the small (inner) all-weather track.



Cantered one lap of the small (inner) all-weather track.



Breezed on the all-weather track at Sha Tin; followed stable companion Highland Reel and seems to have progressed throughout the week; clocked 1m 23.2s (16.5, 14.9, 13.7, 12.3, 13.5, 12.3) for 1200m.

Aidan O’Brien’s representative Pat Keating said: “Happy with him, he’s in good shape and (work rider) Craig (Bryson) is very pleased with him.”



Worked on the all-weather track; 1200m in 1m 32.5s (33.2, 31.8, 27.5).



Cantered two laps of the small (inner) all-weather track.



Cantered one lap of the all-weather track.



Parade ring schooling.

Neorealism and Ryan Moore this morning Image supplied by Hong Kong Jockey Club

Neorealism and Ryan Moore this morning
Image supplied by Hong Kong Jockey Club


Light gallop on the turf under big-race rider Ryan Moore and clocked 55.1s (17.5, 13.4, 12.2, 12.0) for 800m.

Trainer Noriyuki Hori said: “We sent him out for a light gallop this morning. This is his first time travelling abroad, so it has taken him a bit longer to adjust to his new surroundings. Since it is just two days before the race it wasn’t a hard work, just a light tune up. We wanted Ryan to get a feel for the horse and to let the horse get used to the cheek-pieces that he will use on Sunday.”



Exercised in the Sha Tin trotting ring.



Cantered one lap of the small (inner) all-weather track.



Exercised in the quarantine stable trotting ring.

Trainer Yasutoshi Ikee said: “He is keen as he is by Deep Impact, however this is his second trip to Hong Kong and so he is more relaxed than last year, and he is in good condition.”



Cantered one lap of the small (inner) all-weather track.


LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint



Easy canter around one lap of the inner all-weather track.

Jockey Zac Purton said: “We hope he can win it. He’s been progressing nicely in his work and his trials and in his races, and coming along and showing us that he was going to be at his best in December. And then his last run was a little disappointing. Age may be catching up on him. He’s drawn well, he’s going to get a good run and we hope there’s one more big run in him.

“There’s always a lot of pressure in this race; a lot of horses that can take a handy position. I think it’s going to be very tactical early. We’re drawn a gate where we probably don’t have to worry too much about that.

“I think the Hong Kong sprinters are very even; I don’t think we have a standout; there’s definitely no superstar amongst them; they’re all very good horses and it just comes down to who gets the right run on the day.”



A steady canter around the small (inner) all-weather track.



Remained in the quarantine stables as planned after an all-weather gallop yesterday.

Trainer Kenichi Fujioka said: “I originally wanted more of a middle post but unfortunately we have got 13. I am going to rely on Ryan [Moore]’s best judgement come Sunday and hopefully he can get a nice smooth race. He started off the year with a Group 1 win and has managed to keep his condition very well throughout the year. Unfortunately, he was unlucky in the Sprinters Stakes (last time) with the way that the race played out but he is a very good horse, he is training well and we are happy with the way things are going.

“He is in very, very good condition after his solid workout the other day. He has come along so well that we really have confidence that he can perform well on Sunday. Last time out we lost to Red Falx so he is obviously a very good horse but we will be trying hard to win on Sunday.

“Unfortunately, Big Arthur never raced Lord Kanaloa (two-time Hong Kong Sprint winner and arguably Japan’s greatest ever sprinter) so it is difficult to compare them. Lord Kanaloa also raced up to a mile, while Big Arthur is a specialist at 1200 metres. But if they had ever had the chance to meet at 1200 metres, we might have had a shot at beating Lord Kanaloa.”

Growl exercising earlier today Image supplied by Hong Kong Jockey Club

Growl exercising earlier today
Image supplied by Hong Kong Jockey Club


Breezed a lap of the turf track without ever being asked any serious questions by workrider Fionn McSharry.

Trainer Richard Fahey said: “We’re here more in hope than confidence but Growl certainly looks really well. He’s been fitted with cheekpieces on his last two starts which have both been terrific efforts so of course he will wear them again on Sunday.”



Easy gallop over 800m in 53.5s (28.3, 25.2) under big-race rider Brett Prebble.

Prebble said: “He’s a happy horse and I’m happy. He’s drawn a good gate so what will be will be now. He’s put every step in the right direction for that (being considered Hong Kong’s top hope in the race). He hasn’t got many glitches on his form, he’s been a model of consistency right the way through. Every time the bar’s been raised he’s risen to it. I’ve always said I think he’s still got a step left in him and I think if he takes that step he can win. He may come up short on Sunday but it would be a nice race for him to take his next step!”



Took to the main all-weather track for a canter.



Remained in the quarantine stables for the second day in a row.



Given an easy time around the small (inner) all-weather track, with Tony Cruz’s runners working as a string.



Very light piece of work as he cantered on main all-weather track under raceday rider Ben Melham.

Trainer Gary Portelli said: “I’m as happy with him as you could hope to be. He’s much more relaxed this morning and putting the weight he lost back on. He’s 488 kg (1076 lb) this morning and he was 490 kg when he won the Manikato Stakes. Ben (Melham) has come out every morning to ride him which is brilliant and hopefully his great start for us will continue. It was his first ride for the stable when he won at Moonee Valley. First ride, bang, a Group 1.

“The horse’s temperament is fine so he’s coped very well here. The only time we have an issue is when you saddle him up on raceday. He hates it and can be quite dangerous. It’s a three man job saddling him up but once you get the saddle on, he’s fine. And, to be honest, I would be concerned if he wasn’t getting a bit fired up when we saddle him.”



Stayed in the quarantine stables this morning as scheduled.

Trainer Tomohito Ozeki said: “He travelled over very well and he suffered no real effects and he has settled in very well. Things have progressed well and I hope he will be at the same level [as he was for the Sprinters Stakes]. With his pedigree he is very versatile in terms of running on turf or dirt and his brother was the same way. The surface has not really been an issue and we decided to give this a shot as he continued to improve. The direction of the course here in Hong Kong suits his running style quite well.

With regards to Big Arthur, I had a horse in the same race when he made his debut so I know just how much speed this horse has had from the very beginning. Big Arthur will be a very big competitor on Sunday. In regards to my horse, with Mirco (Demuro) in the saddle he hasn’t lost yet. Over 1200 metres he hasn’t lost, so I have a lot of confidence.

“Lord Kanaloa (two-time Hong Kong Sprint winner and Japan’s greatest ever sprinter) was an amazing racehorse so it is difficult to compare, because horses like that don’t come along very often.”



Did two very sedate laps of the Sha Tin all-weather track under big race jockey Stephane Pasquier, who just kicked the Francois Rohaut-trained five-year-old into a slightly higher gear for the final 300 metres. Came home over the last 800 metres in 1m 00.3s (17.1, 15.3, 14.3, 13.6)

Rohaut said: “We don’t want to give him a hard time at this end of the season, he has done plenty of work by this stage.”

Pasquier said: “Am I disappointed with the draw? Yes and no. He is a horse with a lot of speed and in general I ride him to lead or be close up. That is because there are not many horses that can lead him but, if someone wants to go faster and give him a lead, that won’t be a problem. The important thing is that he doesn’t get knocked about and has the smoothest run possible. I just asked him to quicken fractionally over 300 metres, just to bring back his competitive instincts but that was all he needed today. I don’t think the bend will bother him. The only problem with Signs Of Blessing is if he gets messed about during a race or he gets in a bad spot, then that can affect his performance. But he has won going round a turn and I don’t see it as a problem. He has already shown that he is more than capable at this level. If I am being critical of myself as a professional we went a fraction too early at Ascot the last time and there is a climb at the finish which meant he paid in the last 50 metres.



Breezed up 400m in 24.7s over the main all-weather track under regular trackwork rider Beverly Millard.

Trainer Tony Millard said: “The sprint-up was good. Strathmore came through very strongly and Beverly was very happy with him. He strode out well and when he came back he couldn’t blow a candle out.”



Completed two laps of the inner all-weather track at a canter.

Trainer Tony Millard said: “He’s doing very nicely. The Hong Kong horses on the whole drew very well but Super Jockey didn’t, he’s out in nine. He’s very well though, and we’ll take our chances.”



Breezed a couple of circuits of the all-weather track under work rider Petra Kankova.

Trainer Gary Moore said: “Petra reported to me that she felt really strong and well today. We’re all geared up for Sunday when the plan will be to sit behind leader Peniaphobia, kick at the 200 metres and go on to win!”


LONGINES Hong Kong Vase



Given an easy time around the small all-weather track, with Tony Cruz’s runners working as a string.

Benzini at work Image supplied by Hong Kong Jockey Club

Benzini at work
Image supplied by Hong Kong Jockey Club


Worked on the turf under big-race rider Rosie Myers; clocked 1m 22.0s (16.7, 14.0, 15.2, 12.9, 11.9, 11.3) for 1200m.

Assistant trainer Harry Bull said: “We just gave him good work on turf today, but he’s in great order. We’re Kiwis and we’re up for the crack – we’ll just look for a bit of luck in the race. We got a late call for this race but the Hong Kong Jockey Club has looked after us so well, me and my family are very grateful.”



Worked on the all-weather track; clocked 1m 04.4s (15.8, 15.4, 16.0, 17.2) for 800m.

Trainer Michael Bell: “He’s bounced back really well from the travel and he’s in good form. He was on his own for a fortnight at Werribee which wasn’t ideal but he’s settled now. He’s a happy horse and happy horses generally perform well. I’d be happy to see him lead but they say there might be a bit of pace in the race so we’ll play that by ear.

“He came out of yesterday’s work really well and I am very happy with him. As I’ve been saying this week we should be in the mix on Sunday especially if there are any chinks in Highland Reel’s armour.”



A steady canter on the small (inner) all-weather track.



One lap of the small (inner) all-weather track at an easy canter.



Slipstreamed Silverwave in an easy first contact with the Sha Tin turf track under jockey Stephane Pasquier, coming home over 1200m in 1m 25.2s (15.4, 14.8, 17.0, 14.0, 12.0, 12.0)

Pasquier said: “He went fine this morning. He is always a horse who is a little bit stiff in his slower paces but, when I woke him up a little he did it quite easily. He is a fresh horse and, while his last run wasn’t that great, he may have been losing his form a little after a busy season. That chance to freshen up should help him a bit. There are no traps in terms of where you can be drawn with Garlingari because he is a very straightforward horse to ride. In a lot of his races there has been plenty of pace on and I have been able to ride him for a finish. It is him who will decide and if they go fast we can settle in behind and hopefully finish strongly. I have to ride him on the basis that he is in the same sort of form as in the Harcourt and the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. He can accelerate and he is a fresh horse and, most importantly, he wants to do his best.”



Took to the all-weather track for a one-lap canter.



Breezed on the all-weather track at Sha Tin. Aidan O’Brien’s LONGINES Hong Kong Vase defending champion quickened easily down the stretch and clocked 1m 13.7s (14.1, 12.7, 12.0, 11.3, 12.3, 11.3) for 1200m.

Aidan O’Brien’s representative, Pat Keating, had an air of measured confidence when he said: “That’s all he needed, why do more? I am very happy with him and Cougar Mountain, and have been since they came out here.”



Stayed in the quarantine stables as scheduled.



Cantered around the Sha Tin all-weather track under work rider Laurent Metais, covering 800m in 53.8s (13.6, 14.5, 12.5, 13.2). Concerns over his blood picture continue to recede after being confined to the quarantine stables sand ring between arrival on Saturday and Thursday morning.

Trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre said: “The test results are better again this morning and so, from that perspective, everything looks more positive. His canter was not good and I don’t know why so we will have to hope he goes better in the morning.”



Galloped on the turf with Barend Vorster up; breezed down the straight before schooling in the parade ring.

Vorster said, as he walked back to the quarantine stables: “That was perfect, just what we wanted him to do. He’s where he should be and ready for Sunday.”



Remained in the quarantine stables as planned.



Moved smoothly in a breeze on the Sha Tin turf track under work rider Sylvain Guillot. Clocked over 1200m at 1m 25.7s (15.0, 15.4, 17.0, 14.0, 12.3, 12.0).

Trainer Pascal Bary said: “Everything has gone fine and he moved well this morning. The ground doesn’t bother me because he won the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud on good ground. Highland Reel will obviously be the horse to beat, but I am happy with my horse.”



A quiet morning, schooling in the parade ring.