Lord Kanaloa became the first Japanese horse to win the prestigious Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin Racecourse on Sunday, a race the hot Aussie-trained favourite Sea Siren ran a flat ninth in.
One of the four majors on Hong Kong International Day the HK$15 million Group 1 The Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) result saw the Takayuki Yasuda-trained King Kamehameha four-year-old Lord Kanaloa beat home $10 shot, local veteran galloper Cerise Cherry by two and a half lengths with the James McDonald-ridden Captain Sweet in third.
The talented Hong Kong Sprint winner is now also a dual elite level champ with Lord Kanaloa having also won the Grade 1 Sprinters Stakes (1206m) back home in their native Japan back in September when overcoming barrier 16 of 16.
His run on Sunday saw him get in a nice position just off the speed, set by eventual runner-up Cerise Cherry, before kicking away on the straight.
“I was very happy to win the race,” winning jockey Yasunari Iwata said.
“I believe he’s the best sprinter in the world and was very pleased to see him prove that here in Hong Kong.”
As for Australia’s representative in the Hong Kong Sprint 2012, the John O’Shea-trained Sea Siren failed to live up to her potential when the Fastnet Rock mare finished five and a half lengths away ninth.
Having been confident all week with Sea Siren’s condition and chances in the lucrative showdown, Sydney trainer O’Shea was baffled with his mare’s lackluster performance.
“I’ve got no idea, honestly,” he said directly after the race.
“She’s never run like that in her life. I’m sorry, until I watch the replay, I just can’t comment.”
Sea Siren’s jockey Jim Cassidy, aboard for her trio of Group 1 wins back home, was also at a loss as to why she didn’t come on.
“She was a bit keen early and wanted to lay in,” he said.
“She was three deep early, but it didn’t matter.
“She only went to the corner.
“I have to say she was disappointing.”
Also disappointing was the result for defending Hong Kong Sprint winner Lucky Nine who settled right back from their disastrously wide gate to finish a game fifth.
“He was gone at the 600 metres,” expat Aussie hoop Brett Prebble said on Sunday.
“He was off the bridle then which is not him. Wasn’t quite himself today.”
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