Golden Sixty, Glory Vase Set For Longines HKIR Three-Baggers

Golden Sixty | HKJC

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Invitations for this year's Longines Hong Kong International Races were made public prior to the start of the Happy Valley meeting Wednesday, with a total of 24 overseas horses–five more than last year–from Australia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan and Singapore among the invitees.

In the history of the HKIR, only one horse–Good Ba Ba (Lear Fan)–has managed to score three victories at the meeting. More history could be made this year when two-time Hong Kong Horse of the Year Golden Sixty (Aus) (Medaglia d'Oro) and Japan's Glory Vase (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) shoot for their third victories in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Mile and G1 Longines Hong Kong Vase, respectively.

Golden Sixty should be a warm favourite to complete the feat, having defeated California Spangle (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) in the G2 Jockey Club Mile on his seasonal debut Nov. 20. Japan, which is set to be represented by 14 runners across the races, has won the Mile on four occasions and fields a team of three, led by last year's third Salios (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) and Group 1 winner Schnell Meister (GB) (Kingman {GB}). The current connections of dual Group 1 winner Saffron Beach (Ire) (New Bay {GB}) have also accepted, but her participation hinges on the results of the upcoming Tattersalls Sceptre Sessions, for which she holds an entry.

 

 

 

Glory Vase could face as many as 10 while looking to add to his wins here in 2019 and again last year, but he is not the highest-rated in the event. Broome (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), one of three invitees from Aidan O'Brien, is two pounds clear of Glory Vase and Germany's G1 Grosser Preis von Baden hero Mendocino (Ger) (Adlerflug {Ger}) on 118. Ballydoyle could also send out Bolshoi Ballet (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and recent GI Longines Breeders' Cup Turf runner-up Stone Age (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). Joao Moreira has already picked up two HKIR rides for Japan and could climb back aboard Glory Vase in what could be his final rides at Sha Tin, after officially forfeiting his licence Wednesday.

 

 

 

Hong Kong's champion sprinter Wellington (Aus) (All Too Hard {Aus}) tops a full field of 14 in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint, but his participation is in some doubt after pulling up lame behind Lucky Sweynesse (NZ) (Sweynesse {Aus}) in last weekend's G2 Jockey Club Sprint. One of Moreira's rides comes aboard Resistencia (Jpn) (Daiwa Major {Jpn}), runner-up in last year's tragedy-marred Sprint, while G1 Sprinters' S. hero Gendarme (Kitten's Joy) also jets in. Lim's Kosciuszko (Aus) (Kermadec {NZ}) is Singapore's second highest-rated galloper and earns a spot in the field over three locally based runners.

 

 

 

The G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup looms the race of the day, as the once-beaten Romantic Warrior (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) takes on a classy bunch over the 2000 metres. Panthalassa (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}) dead-heated with Lord North (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) in this year's G1 Dubai Turf and most recently set a searching gallop in the G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) before yielding late. Prior to that effort, the 5-year-old was reeled in by Jack d'Or (Jpn)–a son of 2016 Cup winner Maurice (Jpn)–in the G2 Sapporo Kinen. Japan is also represented by Classic winner Geoglyph (Drefong) and Lei Papale (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), sixth here last year and also a confirmed Moreira ride. Order Of Australia (Ire) (Australia {GB}), best known for his 73-1 upset in the GI Breeders' Cup Mile, lands here where he will try a grassy 10 furlongs for just the third time in his 23-race career. The 5-year-old was fourth in the 2020 G1 Irish Derby going 2400 metres.

 

 

 

Andrew Harding, Executive Director, Racing for the Hong Kong Jockey Club, said, “Once more, we are delighted that the quality of selected runners for this year's Longines Hong Kong International Races is in keeping with our long-held commitment to deliver sporting excellence and this is highlighted with strong groups from Japan and Europe headed for Hong Kong to compete against Golden Sixty, Romantic Warrior and more.”

Worth a combined HK$110 million (£11.7m/€13.6m), the Longines Hong Kong International Races will take place in front of an expected crowd of better than 30,000 fans Sunday, Dec. 11 at Sha Tin Racecourse.

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