Nearly 60 Top-Level Winners Entered for Longines HKIR

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Golden Sixty | HKJC photo

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With a record HK$100 million available across the four tests that comprise the Longines Hong Kong International Races, some 135 horses from all corners of the globe–including a whopping 57 that have already struck at Group 1/Grade I level–have been entered for the 'Turf World Championships,' to be held Sunday, Dec. 12 at Sha Tin Racecourse.

Despite the ongoing complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic–the staging of the Longines HKIR is officially subject to the approval of the HKSAR Government–fully 90 entries were received from the connections of overseas runners, eager to take a crack at some of Hong Kong's finest Thoroughbreds.

There is no higher-profile horse in the region than Golden Sixty (Aus) (Medaglia d'Oro), the reigning Horse of the Year and defending champion of the G1 Longines Hong Kong Mile. The 6-year-old, trained by Francis Lui, has won 17 of his 18 career starts and is currently in the midst of a 14-race winning streak. The gelding is set to have his first run of the season in the G2 BOCHK Private Wealth Jockey Club Mile Nov. 21.

Japanese-based horses won two of the four events last season and make up 40 of the entries from abroad. Among them are Danon Smash (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}), who upset the G1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint last December, as well as champion Gran Alegria (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), who holds an entry for the day's richest event, the G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup (2000mT) as well as the Mile. The daughter of Tapitsfly (Tapit) is slated to run in this weekend's G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) at Tokyo. Also among the entries from the 'Land of the Rising Sun' are last weekend's G1 Kikuka Sho hero Titleholder (Jpn) (Duramente {Jpn}), Vase; Uberleben (Jpn) (Gold Ship {Jpn}), the reigning G1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) winner; G1 Yasuda Kinen hero Danon Kingly (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}); and the well-traveled Loves Only You (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), currently in America for the Breeders' Cup meeting who took out the G1 FWD QE II Cup over the Sha Tin 2000 metres this past April.

Europe is strongly represented in each of the four HKIR. Mogul (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) could return to Sha Tin for a title defence in the Vase, while the Joseph O'Brien-conditioned State of Rest (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) has been given an entry in both the Cup and the Vase as he tries to build on his narrow victory in the G1 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley Oct. 23. Tarnawa (Ire) (Shamardal), who will be looking for a repeat success in the GI Longines Breeders' Cup Turf at Del Mar on Saturday week, has also been handed dual entries, while Mac Swiney (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}), recently a good third to Sealiway (Fr) (Galiway {Ire}) in the G1 QIPCO British Champion S. Oct. 16, is an interesting 3-year-old possibility for Cup-winning trainer Jim Bolger. This year's G1 Deutsches Derby winner Sisfahan (Fr) (Isfahan {Ger}) holds an entry for the Vase.

The home team always puts up a strong defence, that could include top sprinter Hot King Prawn (Aus) (Denman {Aus}); Panfield (Chi) (Lookin At Lucky), a treble Group 1 winner in Chile who took out last year's G1 Champions and Chater Cup over 12 furlongs; last year's BMW Hong Kong Derby victor Sky Darci (NZ) (Darci Brahma {NZ}); and last-start G1 Chairman's Sprint Prize hero Wellington (Aus) (All Too Hard {Aus}), to name but a few.

The United States is represented by a pair of entries in the form of Gufo (Declaration of War) and Channel Cat (English Channel), each nominated to both the Cup and the Vase, while Singapore-based trainer Stephen Gray has entered Singapore Derby winner Hard Too Think (Aus) for the Cup and the Vase; and Kharisma (Aus) (Mossman {Aus}) for the Sprint.

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