Rob Heathcote’s four-time Group 1 winning Queensland sprinter Buffering will make his first overseas trip next month, the veteran named as one of 14 hopefuls in this year’s Hong Kong Sprint 2014 field.
The seven-year-old Mossman gelding travels to Sha Tin Racecourse for the December 14 showdown, the HK$18.5 million LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) part of a HK$83 million Turf World Championships race day that 51 horses are selected for.
Seven separate nations are represented across the four Hong Kong International Races this year including Australia represented by Criterion in the 2014 Hong Kong Cup and Buffering in the HK Sprint – the world’s richest all-age feature over the 1200m.
Tough speedster Buffering is sure to start near the top of the Hong Kong Sprint odds at Ladbrokes.com.au based on his huge Group 1 experience and four elite level wins in Australia.
He celebrated the fourth first-up at Moonee Valley in the Group 1 AJ Moir Stakes (1200m) in September and was last seen running fourth to Terravista in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) on November 8.
Europe is well represented in the feature including champion sprinters Gordon Lord Byron and Sole Power.
Globe-trotting six-year-old Gordon Lord Byron boasts Group 1 wins in Britain, Australia and France and comes off a Group 2 win over 1207m in the British Champions Sprint Stakes from October 18, while the Edward Lynam-trained Sole Power is a four-time Group 1 winner over 1000m who ran second in the Hong Kong Sprint last year.
Japan won the Hong Kong Sprint 12 months ago with the now retired Lord Kanaloa and will be back after successive trophies with Snow Dragon and Straight Girl who ran one-two in the Group 1 Sprinters Stakes.
Five-time 1200m winner Little Gerda is the other Japanese-trained HK Sprint selection in 2014, the nation represented with 10 horses in total across the entire day which is the largest team from Japan to ever compete at meeting.
Hong Kong’s best local hopes of keeping the Sprint trophy on home soil look to lie in the elite sprinting duo of Lucky Nine and Sterling City.
Hong Kong Champion Sprinter Lucky Nine won this race back in 2011 and also boasts victories in the past two editions of Singapore’s Group 1 KrisFlyer International Sprint.
The John Moore-trained Nadeem gelding Sterling City is the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen winner from March and comes off a luckless 12th when caught up in the Jockey Club Sprint with ‘The Magic Man’ Joao Moreira in the saddle.
Singapore will saddle-up the Derby winner Spalato, the Elusive City gelding undefeated with six consecutive wins over 1000m – 2000m before his disappointing effort in the Group 2 Jockey Club Sprint (1200m) when 13th to Peniaphobia on November 23.
That was the gelding’s first look at Sha Tin however and he was still only beaten 4.5 lengths after jumping from a wide barrier 13 of 14 draw with visiting Sydney-based James McDonald in the saddle.
Also coming via a luckless run in the Jockey Club Sprint is Aerovelocity who was hampered at a vital stage before running dead last, the Pins six-year-old a six-time winner over the 1200m at Sha Tin.
The Jockey Club Sprint winner Peniaphobia meanwhile also backs up next month looking to become the first three-year-old winner of the Group 1.
Flagship Shine (3rd) and Golden Harvest (4th) are the other most notable JC Sprint graduates accepted for a shot at the HK Sprint this season.
See the full line-up of Hong Kong Sprint 2014 hopefuls below then get ready to back your favourites across the card next month at the best prices by signing up with our preferred online sportsbook Ladbrokes.com.au today!
2014 Hong Kong International Sprint Field
Sha Tin Racecourse – Sunday December 14, 2014
Gordon Lord Byron (IRE)
Little Gerda (JPN)
Snow Dragon (JPN)
Sole Power (IRE)
Straight Girl (JPN)
Flagship Shine (HK)
Golden Harvest (HK)
Lucky Nine (HK)
Smart Volatility (HK)
Sterling City (HK)