Hong Kong’s most promising 4-year-olds will take part in the BMW Hong Kong race on January 30 at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong Classic Mile.
The race was the first of a three-man series, followed by the Hong Classic Cup at 1,800 meters (about 1/8 of a mile) on February 27 and culminated in a 2,000-meter (about 1/4 mile) Derby. on March 20th. .
Despite the recent proliferation of Group I international events run by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the Derby is the most prestigious race on the calendar for local owners and the highlight of the season.
The race dates back to 1873 and some of Hong Kong’s most successful and popular horses have won the event including Sixty goldwho was named the world’s best jockey this week in Longines’ World’s Best Racehorses ranking.
The series is a tough one with a growing gap, and early success isn’t necessarily a sign of future performance, as other professions say. However, Classic Mile has no shortage of opponents who can continue the journey.
On the other hand, when relatively untested horses enter deeper water, some significant streaking is at risk.
Fa Fa, from Frankie Lor’s shed, book a five-race winning streak and jockey Alexis Badel is likely to let him run late in the Mile. All five of those wins were recorded at the track in Hong Kong’s town, Happy Valley, and the form there doesn’t necessarily translate to Sha Tin in the New Territories. Lor says he doesn’t care.
“Let’s see. He’s racing in Happy Valley where he’s better but I think he’ll be fine in Sha Tin because his form is good. He had a trial last week and he gave it a try. good,” Lor said. “His first three races were at Sha Tin and in the third he finished strongly over 1,400 metres. Then we went to Happy Valley and he won a couple of times but I don’t think Sha Tin will be a problem.”
California SpangleOne Starsangledbanner gelding, has won five of its six starts at Sha Tin, including the last three in a row. Matthew Chadwick takes over riding for trainer Tony Cruz as Zac Purton jumps the train to ride Packing Victory for Danny Shum conditioner.
Cruz said he’s not baffled by the rider swap or the longer distance facing the California Spangle.
“Twelve hundred (meters) he’s gone, but I believe he can go a mile,” Cruz said. “He’s in great shape and he’s going to be driving the way he’s always been and that’s the front of the race, leading if he can. And if things go his way, i believe he has a very good chance we will go exactly the way Zac Purton rode him and if we do it our way hopefully we can have some good results with him .”
Romance Warriorentered with a 4 to 4 record but never raced beyond 1,400 meters (about 7 distances). Light spirit won his last three wins with Joao Moreira riding but is now being ironed by former Brazilian champion Vagner Borges as Hong Kong’s top driver moves elsewhere.