LONGINES Hong Kong Cup
A SHIN HIKARI (JPN)
Worked 1200m on turf in 1m 15.6s (13.9, 13.4, 14.5, 12.1, 10.5, 11.2).
Trainer Masanori Sakaguchi said: “Very good draw. Actually four to five was my ideal. He is in very good form and I am happy with his gallop this morning. The track looks better than last year. I think his big opponent will be the other Japanese horses. I just wish he could set the pace and lead the field until the finish. Tomorrow he will have a light canter and school in the paddock.”
BLAZING SPEED (HK)
Worked on the all-weather under Alvin Ng, in company with Peniaphobia; covered 800m in 49.3s (27.1, 22.2).
Trainer Tony Cruz said: “Blazing Speed is in his best form right now. His last run was very good even though he had to carry five pounds more than most of the others. I’m very happy with his condition right now. His final gallop this morning was very good. The Japanese are the horses to beat though; it’s going to be very tough.”
DESIGNS ON ROME (HK)
Galloped on turf under Joao Moreira in company with Harbour Master; clocked 1m 16.2s (25.2 28.3 22.7) for 1200m.
A day after breezing on the turf the Andre Fabre-trained five-year-old went for a gentle canter around one lap of the Sha Tin all-weather under work rider Amelie Foulon.
Fabre’s head lad Richard Lambert said: “That was very easy, just a hack-canter today. He will canter tomorrow and Saturday and then just a hack-canter on Sunday morning.”
HORSE OF FORTUNE (HK)
Worked two laps of the small (inner) all-weather track.
LOVELY DAY (JPN)
Worked on turf and closed the final 800m in 49.3s (13.2, 13.2, 12.2, 10.7).
Trainer Yasutoshi Ikee said: “Good draw. The condition of the turf on the inside looks good and he will be able to race well on the good surface. He looked well and relaxed in his gallop this morning. I think all is under control so far.”
Worked on turf under Ryan Moore (in company with Satono Crown) and clocked 55.9s (18.1, 14.2, 12.3, 11.3) for the final 800m.
Trainer Noriyuki Hori said (after the horse drew gate eight): “We will discuss today’s draw with the jockey and develop our strategy.”
QUEENS RING (JPN)
Remained in the quarantine stable area.
Trainer Keiji Yoshimura said: “Of course I wanted to draw inside (drew 11). But Mirco Demuro has been riding in Hong Kong and he has lots of experience. He knows the racing here, so I trust him a lot and will leave the strategy to him. She raced well from the outside draw in Japan, so I am hopeful.”
SECRET WEAPON (HK)
Exercised two laps around the small inner all-weather track.
Galloped 800m on turf and clocked 50.8s (17.3, 12.0, 10.0, 11.5).
HELENE SUPER STAR (HK)
Worked on the all-weather track under Alvin Ng in company with Romantic Touch; clocked 55.2s for 800m (31.6, 23.6).
LONGINES Hong Kong Mile
ABLE FRIEND (HK)
Galloped 1200m on the turf under Joao Moreira in 1m 21.9s (58.6, 23.3). Set the talented Class 1 galloper Mr Bogart a length at the top of the stretch and finished on top with his ears pricked.
BEAUTY FLAME (HK)
Worked on the all-weather track under Matthew Chadwick in company with Beauty Only; covered 1200m in 1m 25.9s (33.3, 28.8, 23.8).
BEAUTY ONLY (HK)
Worked 1200m of the all-weather track in company with Beauty Flame in 1m 25.9s (33.3, 28.8, 23.8).
Trainer Tony Cruz said: “The fast ground will suit him more than the track he struck last time. Last time, there seemed to be give in the ground, because it was a newly laid down winter grass. It was very loose and there was a lot of kickback. This Sunday will be much tighter.”
One lap of small (inner) all-weather track.
Trainer John Size said: “I think he’s a very straightforward horse, he’s done nothing wrong. His form’s been good, he’s trained well, he seems confident within himself. He’ll run pretty handy, there’s not a lot of speed in the race so he’ll begin smartly and put himself up there in the first two or three. It just depends if the good horses that come from the back, whether they run over him or not. But he’ll run his normal honest race as he always does.”
COUGAR MOUNTAIN (IRE)
Cantered a lap of the all-weather track at Sha Tin in company with Highland Reel; clocked 59.0s (14.7, 15.5, 14.0, 14.8) for 800m.
Aidan O’Brien’s assistant Pat Keating said: “Both horses seem very well, and their lads are happy with both of them.”
GIANT TREASURE (HK)
Two laps of the small (inner) all-weather track.
HELENE PARAGON (HK)
Galloped the turf under Hugh Bowman in company with Midnight Rattler; clocked 1m 15.2s (23.8, 27.8, 23.6) for 1200m.
JOYFUL TRINITY (HK)
Galloped the turf under Gerald Mosse in company with Dashing Fellow; clocked 1m 17.3s (25.9, 29.0, 22.4).
Worked 800m on the all-weather in 56.2s (17.3, 15.6, 12.3, 11.0).
Trainer Tsuyoshi Tanaka said: “The two gate is a good draw for him. He gave a good response today when he galloped and moved very nicely. There are many unknown factors to be considered, but everything has gone well so far, which is a great thing for us.”
Easy exercise on the all-weather track.
PACKING PINS (HK)
Worked 800m on the all-weather in 55.1s (31.2, 23.9).
Trainer Ricky Yiu said: “He’s a horse that always tries to please you, he tries hard. He’s still holding his condition. The pattern of the races haven’t suited him so far this season, so maybe a change of jockey on Sunday will mean a change of luck.”
ROMANTIC TOUCH (HK)
Galloped 1200m under Matthew Chadwick in company with Helene Super Star; clocked 55.2s (31.6 23.6) for 800m.
Trainer Tony Cruz said: “Romantic Touch is a horse that likes give in the ground and it’s looking like it will be fast on Sunday.”
SATONO ALADDIN (JPN)
Worked 1000m on the turf in 1m 06.7s (15.3, 15.6, 13.9, 11.7, 10.2).
Trainer Yasutoshi Ikee said: “I think he will be able to gain a good position from his middle draw, watching both horses inside and outside. He has settled well and looks fit. I am happy with his condition so far.”
SUN JEWELLERY (HK)
Worked one lap of the small (inner) all-weather track.
Trainer John Size said: “He seems OK, he’s only had the two starts (this term). The first race was a very slowly run race and it wasn’t a good indication of any horse’s form, and then at his next start he competed quite normally, he put himself in the finish and he fought out the finish with the winner and the second horse so I thought he raced very well. This is his third run this campaign, he will be a little bit fitter and I think he’s got a good chance of winning the race.”
LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint
Worked 800m on the all-weather track in 58.1s (30.4, 27.7).
Trainer Paul O’Sullivan said: “Everything’s fine, he’s done well. He’s ready to go so we’ll go through the motions and do what we’ve done the last couple of years. His first run, he needed it, for sure; his second run, I don’t think the ground along the fence was as good as it was out wide. He’s going to have to draw a gate and things are going to have to go right.”
AMAZING KIDS (HK)
Worked once around the small (inner) track.
Trainer John Size said: “He looked fairly ordinary at his last start, he didn’t look anything special, but I thought his first two starts this season were pretty good and maybe his second start it was a pretty tough run so he may have taken some harm from that. At home he’s done well, he’s a very gross doer, he’s in fantastic health, he’s sound so I’d expect him to run a very good race. You’d like to think so (that he’s peaking), but I’ll tell you after the race whether he peaked or not. It’s hard to predict those sorts of things.”
BIG ARTHUR (JPN)
Galloped five furlongs of the Sha Tin all-weather course; clocked 49.4s (13.6, 14.0, 11.0, 10.8) for 800m.
Trainer Kenichi Fujioka said: “He was relaxed and moved really well today. He is in great condition.”
Ridden as usual in the morning by Fionn McSharry, he did some light work around the all-weather track.
LUCKY BUBBLES (HK)
Worked one lap of the small (inner) track under Brett Prebble.
NOT LISTENIN’TOME (HK)
Galloped the backstretch on turf under Hugh Bowman in 49.4s (25.6, 23.8).
PURE SENSATION (USA)
Remained in the quarantine stables.
Hong Kong Jockey Club Chief Stipendiary Steward Kim Kelly said: “The Stewards have been informed by Dr. Peter Curl, Executive Manager, Veterinary Regulation, that Pure Sensation, trained by Christophe Clement, was found to be lame in its left hind leg on Wednesday, 7 December 2016, as a result of foot bruising. The Stewards have been advised that the horse is responding well to treatment and accordingly Pure Sensation has been declared for the aforementioned race.”
Worked on the all-weather under Alvin Ng, in company with Blazing Speed; covered 800m in 49.3 (27.,1 22.2).
REBEL DANE (AUS)
Easy canter on the all-weather.
RED FALX (JPN)
Galloped on the all-weather under Mirco Demuro; clocked 41.3s (15.5, 13.6, 12.2) for 600m.
Trainer Tomohito Ozeki said: “The 10 gate is okay. It is not too far wide, and not too inside. There are strong horses inside, so we will see. The time of his work this morning was a bit slower than planned but he looked well. I did not want to give him too much.”
Assistant trainer Isao Futaguchi said: “He did some steady gallops before he came here, so he does not have to do strong work here. Actually he was keen the first time he came on the track but on the second day he was already familiar with it.”
SIGNS OF BLESSING (FR)
Continued in his regular routine of an easy canter around the Sha Tin all-weather track under work rider Wilfred Conart, covering 1000 metres in 1m 15.2s (17.4, 15.2, 13.7, 14.9, 14.0)
Trainer Francois Rohaut said: “He has taken the journey well. He is in a good mood and eating well. He is supple and everything has gone well. We set this programme out for him with the idea that I love speed horses to have plenty of zip in them for each run so I have spaced his races out. The calendar sets up perfectly for him. He is fresh and right in his mind so he won’t have any work on the turf. At this end of the season they don’t need big pieces of work. The draw is the most important thing over 1200 metres. Three or four would be fantastic.”
Speaking after the draw  “It is a catastrophe. And on top of that, all the Hong Kong horses are drawn on the inside.”
Two laps of the small (inner) all-weather track.
SUPER JOCKEY (HK)
Two laps of the small (inner) all-weather track.
Breezed around the all-weather track under work rider Petra Kankova.
Trainer Gary Moore said:”He’s spot on. His coatlooks great and his blood profile is perfect. I expect him to win on Sunday and show everyone that our stable are serious players. If he does then it will be right up there as one of the great moments of my career.”
LONGINES Hong Kong Vase
Galloped 800m of the all-weather track in company with General Sherman in 53.2s (29.6, 23.6).
Did some easy work on the all-weather track under assistant trainer Harry Bull, prior to something faster planned for tomorrow.
BIG ORANGE (UK)
Cantered around the turf track under big race rider Damian Lane before quickening in the straight; clocked 39.5s (14.2, 12.8, 12.5) for the final 600m; the smile on his trainer’s face afterwards suggesting positive news.
Trainer Michael Bell said: “He’s very fit and we don’t need to do much with him so
he won’t be breaking any land speed records before Sunday. Anyhow, I’m very pleased with him.”
EASTERN EXPRESS (HK)
Worked a lap of the small (inner) all-weather track.
Trainer John Size said: “Well, he’s unknown at the 2400m, we don’t get much experience at those distances but he’s always given every indication that he’d run it so now’s the time we get to test him and hopefully he runs well.”
FLAME HERO (HK)
Worked 800m on the all-weather track under Zac Purton in 53.7s (27.1, 26.6).
Covered 800m on the all-weather in 56.8s (15.0, 13.2, 14.8, 13.8).
Trainer Corine Barande-Barbe said: “The horse is moving well and will canter on the turf on Friday.”
HELENE HAPPY STAR (HK)
Galloped the turf under Hugh Bowman in company with Let Us Win; covered 1200m in 1m 21.4s (28.3, 30.1, 23.0).
HIGHLAND REEL (IRE)
Cantered a lap of the all-weather track at Sha Tin; covered 1000m in
1m 10.6s (14.8, 13.9, 15.7, 13.3, 12.9).
Pat Keating, travelling head lad for trainer Aidan O’Brien: “Davy Bergin (work rider) is very happy with him, and that goes for me too.”
NUOVO RECORD (JPN)
Galloped five furlongs over the Sha Tin turf course; clocked 52.6s (17.4, 14.1, 11.1, 10.0) for 800m.
Groom Hideyuki Obara said: “We pushed her a bit in the final stages of her work today as planned. She has been eating and drinking very well so we have been working her accordingly to keep her at peak condition.”
ONE FOOT IN HEAVEN (FR)
Took his first steps of the week outside of the quarantine stables after returning sub-optimal blood tests on arrival. Cantered around the Sha Tin all-weather track in company with the other French runners under work rider Laurent Metais. Seemed on good terms with himself.
Trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre said: “He is doing better each day but we will know more tomorrow. Nothing is sure at the moment. If the blood tests continue to improve he should be fine.”
Hong Kong Jockey Club Chief Stipendiary Steward Kim Kelly said: “Dr. Peter Curl has advised the Stewards that One Foot In Heaven, which was previously reported to have shown evidence of a blood abnormality upon routine post-arrival health screening, has improved with treatment and accordingly, has been declared for the aforementioned race (Hong Kong Vase).”
Slow cantered a couple of laps of the all-weather track under big-race rider Barend Vorster.
Vorster said: “He was nice and relaxed this morning, which was what we wanted. I’m happy enough with the way he is right now.”
SATONO CROWN (JPN)
Worked on turf under Joao Moreira and covered 800m (in company with Maurice) in
55.9s (18.1, 14.2, 12.3, 11.3).
The Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud winner cantered a lap of the Sha Tin all-weather track under under work rider Sylvain Guillot, covering 1000 metres in 1m 12.0s (15.9, 14.2, 14.3, 14.0, 13.6)
Trainer Pascal Bary said: “His action is good and he is very well. It is the first time he has travelled and he is taking it all in his stride. He is drawn one and and I think they’ll go quite fast so that should suit him. He has had plenty of time to recover from the Arc, which stretched his stamina at that sort of relentless gallop. I think this will suit him better.”
SMART LAYER (JPN)
Worked 1000m on turf in 1m 13.5s (16.3, 15.1, 15.0, 14.0, 13.1).
Assistant trainer Kota Kato said: “The outside has no issue as there is some distance to the first corner. We will leave the strategy to jockey Yutaka Take.”
About her gallop this morning, “I did not push her too much this morning, but she had great speed and responded well. She has eaten up well and keeps good condition.”