Russian Emperor Out of Longines Hong Kong Vase

Russian Emperor | HKJC photo

Mike Cheung's reigning champion Hong Kong stayer Russian Emperor (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) will not take part in Sunday week's G1 Longines Hong Kong Vase (2400mT), South China Morning Post reported Wednesday.

The 6-year-old, who gave trainer Douglas Whyte his first victory on foreign soil when taking out last year's Listed HH The Amir Trophy in Qatar before successfully defending his title in the G1 Standard Champions and Chater Cup in May, will miss the Vase owing to an unspecified veterinary issue, SCMP reported.

Winner of the 2020 G3 Hampton Court S., Russian Emperor ran a blinder to just miss in the 2021 BMW Hong Kong Derby and took a yielding-turf renewal of the G1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup for his first win at the top level in February 2022. He validated 21-10 favouritism when winning the first of his two Champions and Chater Cups that May.

He made two starts in Dubai following his Qatar success for a highly creditable fifth in the G1 Jebel Hatta S. ahead of an eighth to Equinox (Jpn) (Kitasan Black {Jpn}) in the G1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic. He finished down the field in a pair of Group 2 build-up races this season.

The withdrawal of Russian Emperor leaves a prospective field of 11 for the Vase, topped by 2022 Sheema Classic hero and recent GI Longines Breeders' Cup Turf third Shahryar (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) and the Andre Fabre-trained G1 Grosser Preis von Bayern winner Junko (GB) (Intello {Ger}).

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