Longines HKIR Draw Entries From a Dozen Countries

Liberty Island is one of 68 Japanese entries for December's Longines Hong Kong International Races | Horsephotos

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The 2023 Longines Hong Kong International Races meeting to be held at Sha Tin Racecourse Sunday, Dec. 10, has attracted some 189 entries–including a whopping 68 from Japan–from a total of 12 racing jurisdictions. The four Group 1 races, collectively deemed the 'World Turf Championships, will offer record prizemoney of HK$118 million (£12.4 million/€14.3 million/A$23.8 million/US$15.1 million).

The entries include no fewer than 55 Group 1 winners from around the globe, including Sunday Racing's exciting Japanese Triple Tiara winner Liberty Island (Jpn) (Duramente {Jpn}), who was given the option of the G1 Longines Hong Kong Vase over the 2400 metres or the 2000 metres of the G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup, the world's richest turf race at the distance at HK$36 million. Though her participation in Hong Kong hinges on her performance in the G1 Japan Cup just two weekends prior, she would in all likelihood face defending champion Romantic Warrior (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}), fourth in the Oct. 7 G1 Turnbull S. at Flemington and current ante-post favourite for Saturday's G1 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley. Sunday's high-quality renewal of the G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) could also produce a runner or two for the Cup in the form of Do Deuce (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}), Jack d'Or (Jpn) (Maurice {Jpn}) and/or Tastiera (Jpn) (Satono Crown {Jpn}).

Aidan O'Brien has 13 horses under his care that are among the HKIR entries, including G1 St Leger hero Continuous (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}), who is also penciled in for a start in the Japan Cup and has entries for both the Cup and the Vase. Luxembourg (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) and Cox Plate entrant Victoria Road (Ire) (Saxon Warrior {Jpn}) are also possible for the Cup, while Paddington (GB) (Siyouni {Fr}) may try to regroup in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Mile after struggling in the bottomless ground on Champion Day at Ascot Oct. 21. The Hong Kong-owned and Ralph Beckett-trained Kinross (GB) (Kingman {GB}), a likely marquee ride at the meeting for Frankie Dettori, is entered for the Mile, where he could clash with two-time winner and multiple Horse of the Year Golden Sixty (Aus) (Medaglia d'Oro), as well as the talented California Spangle (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}), who served notice with a weight-carrying victory in the G2 Sha Tin Trophy H. when first-up for nearly six months on Oct. 15.

 

Highfield Princess (Fr) (Night of Thunder {Ire}) has eschewed a return trip to America for the GI Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint in favour of an appearance in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint. The 6-year-old mare could square off there with champion local sprinter Lucky Sweynesse (NZ) (Sweynesse {Aus}), who endured a luckless passage in last year's renewal in finishing sixth to Wellington (Aus) (All Too Hard {Aus}). The latter is now conditioned by Jamie Richards, in his second season in Hong Kong, and who has assumed training duties with the retirement of Richard Gibson. Simca Mille (Ire) (Tamayuz {GB}) is a potential HKIR raider from France, having defeated fellow Vase entry Sisfahan (Fr) (Isfahan {Ger}) in the G1 Grosser Preis von Berlin in August.

Since the easing of COVID-related travel restrictions, the connections of Australian-based horses have been more willing to consider HKIR as a post-Melbourne Cup Carnival option, and such is the case this year, as 23 horses have been entered across the four races. The lot is headed up by last year's Melbourne Cup upsetter Gold Trip (Fr) (Outstrip {GB}), four-times Group 1 winner Mr Brightside (NZ) (Bullbars {Aus}) and the ultra-consistent Annabel Neasham-trained Zaaki (GB) (Leroidesanimaux {Brz}), each of whom are among the 12-strong Cox Plate field on Saturday.

A relatively bulky 10-horse entry from North America includes the Bill Mott-trained multiple Grade I winners War Like Goddess (English Channel) and Casa Creed (Jimmy Creed), while trainer Mark Casse is also represented by a pair in Fev Rover (Ire) (Gutaifan {Ire}) and Get Smokin (Get Stormy).

Three-time Group 1 winner Sharp 'n' Smart (NZ) (Redwood {GB}) is the lone entrant from New Zealand, while Singapore's best Lim's Kosciuzsko (Aus) (Kermadec {NZ}) and Famous Jonathon (NZ) (Deep Field {Aus}) from Macau have also been entered.

 

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