Luxembourg, Highfield Princess Among 16 Group 1 Winners Invited to Longines HKIR

Luxembourg | Racingfotos

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Luxembourg (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) and Highfield Princess (Fr) (Night of Thunder {Ire}) are among 16 elite-level winners and 25 overseas-based horses that have been extended invitations to the Longines Hong Kong International Races meeting at Sha Tin Racecourse Sunday, Dec. 9.

Winner of this year's G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup and a narrowly beaten second to his GI Breeders' Cup Turf-winning stable companion Auguste Rodin (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in defence of his crown in the G1 Irish Champion S. at Leopardstown Sept. 9, the G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup-bound Luxembourg is one of four for trainer Aidan O'Brien on the day. Warm Heart (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) could try to give the team a fourth victory in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Vase, while Cairo (Ire) (Quality Road) is engaged for the G1 Longines Hong Kong Mile and recent GI Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint third Aesop's Fables (Ire) (No Nay Never) in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint.

Highfield Princess swerved the Breeders' Cup meeting in favour of this fixture, though it is a race in which European raiders–and foreign-based runners, in general–have struggled mightily. Danon Smash (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}) is the last overseas horse to take the Sprint, and Japan fields a pair as well, including Mad Cool (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}), a €225,000 purchase by Katsumi Yoshida out of the 2019 Goffs November sale and who just failed when last seen in the Oct. 1 G1 Sprinters S.

Two-time Mile winner Golden Sixty (Aus) (Medaglia d'Oro) goes first-up this year and will face as many as five Japanese invaders led by 4-year-old filly Namur (Jpn) (Harbinger {GB}), who just got the better of Soul Rush (Jpn) (Rulership {Jpn}) and former Hong Kong star Joao Moreira in the G1 Mile Championship last weekend. Godolphin's treble 2023 group scorer Tribalist (GB) (Farhh {GB}) is also engaged for the Mile for trainer Andre Fabre, and Singapore is also represented by its standout galloper Lim's Kosciuszko (Aus) (Kermadec {NZ}). Winner of 15 of 19 at home, he finished at the tail, but beaten under seven lengths, behind Wellington (Aus) (All Too Hard {Aus}) in last year's Sprint.

Simon and Ed Crisford trainee West Wind Blows (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) will try to give his sire another winner of the Vase, joining Hong Kong's Exultant (Ire) back in 2018. The 4-year-old had a busy Spring Carnival in Victoria, running second in the G1 Turnbull S. and G1 Caulfield Cup before finishing ninth in the G1 Champions S. America is set to be represented by its first HKIR runner for six years when Soldier Rising (GB) (Frankel {GB}) competes in the Vase. The 5-year-old has placed in five Grade Is in the States and has winning form in France going right-handed. Japan has won the Vase three out of the last four years and will have a strong chance yet again with recent GI Breeders' Cup Turf third Shahryar (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) and Geraldina (Jpn), a daughter of Cup and Mile winner Maurice (Jpn) and fellow Horse of the Year Gentildonna (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}).

In addition to the aforementioned Golden Sixty, also defending the home turf will be Romantic Warrior (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}), who will try to go back-to-back in the Cup having posted a memorable win in the G1 Cox Plate in late October; champion sprinter Lucky Sweynesse (NZ) (Sweynesse {Aus}), an unlucky sixth in last year's Sprint; 2022 Mile champion California Spangle (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}); and Russian Emperor (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), who gave trainer Douglas Whyte a first win on foreign soil in the Listed HH The Amir's Trophy in Qatar this past February.

“We are excited by the quality of selected runners for this year's Longines Hong Kong International Races and the presence of so many global stars is in keeping with our long-held commitment to deliver sporting excellence,” said Andrew Harding, the Hong Kong Jockey Club's Executive Director of Racing. “This is particularly highlighted with Japan, Europe and Ireland's contingent as they prepare to compete against Hong Kong champions Golden Sixty, Romantic Warrior and Lucky Sweynesse.”

 

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