Group 1 All Aged Stakes winner down under during the autumn Hana’s Goal can bounce back from a disappointing run last weekend when the Japanese mare runs in the Hong Kong Mile 2014 next month according to expat Aussie hoop Nash Rawiller.
The former Sydney-based Rawiller, now riding in Hong Kong, partnered with the Kazuhiro Kato-trained mare when she travelled down under during the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and went home with a Group 1 under her belt.
She had two unplaced runs in Sydney when ridden by Craig Williams and Kyosuke Maruta respectively before Rawiller jumped aboard for her two length win over Weary in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 26.
From there she was spelled for five months before a run back home in Japan when second last finishing 17th in the Group 1 Sprinters Stakes (1206m) on October 5.
It was another seemingly below par run then last Sunday from the five-year-old daughter of Orewa Matteruze with Hana’s Goal, ridden by Rawiller, finishing over 15 lengths away ninth to beat home one other runner in the Group 2 Jockey Club Mile (1600m) won by the Joao Moreira-ridden Able Friend.
Her trainer Kato and Rawiller however are both convinced she can improve notably on that when she returns to the track and distance for the Hong Kong International Race Day at Sha Tin on December 14.
“The result was unfortunate but it had only been a week since she arrived,” Kato told the Japan Racing Association.
“She’s the type of horse that improves each time she races and I’m expecting her to be better for the next race.
“I hope to have her in peak shape three weeks from now.”
Her target is the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile (1600m), and Rawiller is looking forward to jumping on her back in the classic.
“She wasn’t in the kind of shape she was when she won in Australia,” he said of her run over the weekend.
“She surely will be able to do a better job next time out in the Hong Kong Mile.”
Along with Rawiller the other Australian jockey connection to the Hong Kong International Racing Festival this season lies in two hoops competing in the 2014 Longines Hong Kong Jockeys’ Championship at Happy Valley on December 10.
Young Kiwi expat James McDonald, now riding in Sydney, has been in flying form over the spring including his Caulfield Guineas win aboard Shooting To Win.
He hopes to continue his good riding in Hong Kong when he returns after placing second in the series when he was just 19 back in 2011.
McDonald also rode Xtension to victory in the Group 1 Champions Mile at Sha Tin in 2012 and so is familiar with the track.
“It’s going to be great,” he told Racing Victoria.
“I’ve really enjoyed my previous stints in Hong Kong and as a youngster I dreamed of winning a big international race there and I’ve been lucky enough to do that.”
Former Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy is the other one of the two Australians invited to take part in the championship this season.
Winner of the Turnbull Stakes aboard Lucia Valentina this year, McEvoy took out the Hong Kong riding honours last year and so is eager to successfully defend his title in 2014.
“I can’t wait to get back,” McEvoy said.
“It was such a thrill last year to ride against legends like Gary Stevens and Mike Smith, let alone win the title and the 2014 line-up looks fantastic as well.
“I’ll be fired up and just hoping that I can draw a couple of good mounts and a couple of good gates.”
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