The sole Australian-trained galloper sweating on an invitation to the 2011 Hong Kong International Races, Darren Smith’s Group 1 The Galaxy winner Atomic Force has missed out on a shot at international glory during next month’s prestigious meeting at Sha Tin.
Owned by the Dean Watt-managed Dynamic Syndications, Danehill Dancer six-year-old Atomic Force failed to gain an invite to race in the HK$14 million Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m), one of four elite level features taking place for the Hong Kong International Race Day on December 11.
Despite having worked hard to meet all the criteria set by the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) and fully qualify for the race, Atomic Force was snubbed from the Sha Tin showdown in a move that has connections scratching their heads.
“To miss out at the 11th hour on an invitation under these circumstances is disappointing,” a statement on the Dynamic Syndications website said.
“We have always been aware and understood that the process of selection is with the HKJC committee regarding whom they invite and whom they leave out.
“But to be without a qualified runner from the southern hemisphere, especially when the Australian sprinters are world class and the results of previous international sprints statistically speak for themselves, is at best puzzling.”
Australia will now be without representation at the Hong Kong International Races 2011, one of the world’s most prominent race days offering in excess of HK$68 million (AUS$2.6 million) in total prize money.
Plan B is now for Atomic Force to travel across the Tasman to New Zealand to compete in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.
The sprinter will have their final start in Australia for the year at Canterbury this Saturday in Race 3 – the $70,000 Hylands Kids Colours For Christmas Handicap (1100m) carrying the 62kg topweight of the eight-horse field.
Boom New Zealand galloper Jimmy Choux is now the only Australasian horse set for the Hong Kong International meeting, the recent Cox Plate runner-up and five-time Group 1 hero to run in the HK$20 million Group 1 Hong Kong Mile (1600m).
In other Hong Kong International Raceday news, this year’s devastatingly close Melbourne Cup second placegetter Red Cadeaux is set to face off against their star stablemate, the fellow Ed Dunlop-trained Snow Fairy, in the 2011 Hong Kong Vase at the December meeting.
The Hong Kong fields for the International Race Day 2011 are due for release on Thursday December 8.
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