There is no Australian-trained runners in the 2013 Hong Kong Vase final field but there will still be plenty of local interest in the Group 1 event that will be run at Sha Tin on Sunday; with Red Cadeaux, Mount Athos, Simenon, Dandino and Dunadenall set to contest the prestigious race.
Veteran stayer Red Cadeaux won the 2012 Hong Kong Vase and is heading into the 2013 edition of the race in stellar form after finishing second behind Fiorente in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), despite carrying a heavy weight and starting from a wide barrier.
Red Cadeaux ($5.50) has not returned to the winners stall since his memorable win in last year’s Hong Kong Vase but has contested the Group 1 Dubai World Cup (2000m), Group 1 Tenno Sho (3218m), Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup (2000m), Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (2011m), Group 1 King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2414m) and the Group 1 Irish St Leger (2816m) in the past twelve months.
Mount Athos ($7.50) does not have the impressive international racing resume of Red Cadeaux but proved he is one of the best stayers in the world with his brave third place finish in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 5.
The Montjeu gelding was ridden close to the pace and trapped ride for the majority of race but fought home strongly in the final stages of the race to improve on his fifth place finish in 2013.
Mount Athos ($7.50) will be competing at Group 1 level for just the fourth time in his racing career and is chasing his first victory at the highest level of racing; with the six-year-old recording only two wins at Group level in the 2012 Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2816m) and 2013 Ormonde Stakes (2696m).
Irish stayer Simenon was competing in hurdle races at this time last year but just twelve months later is a legitimate winning chance, at odds of $14, in one of the highest quality races on the global racing calendar.
Simenon finished second behind Estimate in the Group 1 Gold Cup (4023m) during the Royal Ascot meeting and showed a surprising turn of pace to finish third behind Sea Moon and Oasis Bloom in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m).
The Marju gelding was one of the best backed runners in the lead-up to the Melbourne Cup and finished fourth and was far from disgraced when finishing 13th, but within three and a half lengths of the winner, in the Group 1 Japan Cup (2413m) in Tokyo a fortnight ago.
Also backing up from the Japan Cup is 2011 Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden who has competed in a mixed bag of races during the 2013 racing season and is now a $9.50 chance to record his second victory in the Hong Kong Vase.
Dunaden was originally set for the Group 1 Prix de l’arc de Triomphe (2400m) but after failing to fire when finishing eighth behind Orfevre in the Group 2 Prix Foy (2400m) was sent to Australia for his third straight tilt at the Melbourne Cup.
The Nicobar entire was lumped with the top weight of 58.5kg and was unable to finish closer than 11th but produced an improved effort when flying home late to finish fifth behind Gentildonna in the Japan Cup.
The final runner backing up from the Melbourne Cup in the Hong Kong Vase is Dandino and there has been a sprinkling of support in betting markets for the Australian-owned, European-trained stayer who is now into odds of $10.
Dandino finished seventh behind Red Cadeaux in the 2012 Hong Kong Vase but has improved in the past twelve months; finishing second in the Qatar Bloodstock Jockey Club Stakes (2414m) and the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2414m) in England before winning the American St. Leger Stakes (2714m), finishing second in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and fifth in the Melbourne Cup.
While the majority of Australian eyes will be on the horses that contested the Melbourne Cup, the clear favourite in Hong Kong Vase betting markets is John Gosden-trained filly The Fugue ($2.90).
The Fugue was inconsistent as a three-year-old but has stamped herself as a legitimate weight-for-age performer in the past six months; winning the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks (2414m) and Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes (2011m) before finishing second behind Magician in the Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf.
The latest Hong Kong Vase betting odds can be found in the table below.
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