Eleven Foreigners To Challenge Home Team On FWD Champions Day

Dubai Honour is set for a third trip to Hong Kong | HKJC photo


A record 11 overseas-based gallopers, including Group 1 winners Dubai Honour (Ire) (Pride of Dubai {Aus}) from Great Britain and Japan's Mad Cool (Jpn) (Dark Angel {Ire}), are among the 35 total horses invited to participate in the trio of races which comprise FWD Champions Day at Sha Tin Racecourse on Apr. 28.

Trained by William Haggas, the globetrotting Dubai Honour pays a third visit to Hong Kong and will look to improve on his performance from 12 months ago, where he was a low-odds third behind the re-opposing, three-peat seeking Romantic Warrior (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) and Prognosis (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in the richest of the afternoon's events, the HK$28 million (£2.84 million/€3.29 million) G1 FWD QE II Cup. Also among the invitees is recent BMW Hong Kong Derby winner Massive Sovereign (Ire) (No Nay Never).

Whereas Dubai Honour was set for a strenuous two-race Australian Group 1 prep last term, he enters this year's contest a much fresher horse, having won Kempton's Listed Magnolia S. by a smooth three-length margin Apr. 1. Dubai Honour was also a respectable fourth in the 2022 G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup over the QE II Cup course and distance.

The G1 Chairman's Sprint Prize lost some of its lustre when the world's top-rated sprinter Lucky Sweynesse (NZ) (Sweynesse {Aus}) was ruled out via injury, and it will be left to last-out G1 Al Quoz Sprint victor California Spangle (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) to fly the Bauhinia flag. Victor the Winner (Aus) (Toronado {Ire}) is also set to make an appearance, having set the pace before finishing a brave third to Mad Cool in the G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen at Chukyo Mar. 23. Trainer George Boughey is set to be represented by his first Hong Kong runner in the 4-year-old filly Believing (Ire) (Mehmas {Ire}), a dual listed winner in England and victorious in the G3 Prix Texanita at Chantilly in 2023.

Golden Sixty (Aus) (Medaglia d'Oro) will try to win the G1 FWD Champions Mile for a record fourth time in what could be his final career appearance. The 8-year-old, a three-time Horse of the Year, will have the services of Vincent Ho as they look for an 11th Group 1 success together. Hong Kong Derby runner-up Galaxy Patch (Aus) (Wandjina {Aus}) drops back to the 1600 metres in a race that has also attracted All-Star Mile winner Obamburumai (Jpn) (Discreet Cat), beaten under three lengths in last weekend's G1 Doncaster Mile H. at Randwick, and Middle Park Racing LX's Brave Emperor (Ire) (Sioux Nation), a stakes winner in no fewer than five different jurisdictions for trainer Archie Watson, including the Listed Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cup in Qatar Feb. 17.

“FWD Champions Day is one of the most prestigious meetings on the international racing stage and we are delighted to have such a strong group of world-class horses heading to Sha Tin for our spring flagship meeting,” said Andrew Harding, executive director, racing, for the Hong Kong Jockey Club. “With eight visitors from Japan and three from Great Britain, the might of Hong Kong's team will be tested in all three feature races.”


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