Andre Fabre’s classy French raider Flintshire leads a smart field of stayers facing off in the lucrative Hong Kong Vase 2014 at Sha Tin Racecourse on December 14, selected horses for the day’s four elite levels released this week.
A large contingent of Group 1 stars from around the world headline the 51 racehorses completing the line-up for next month’s Hong Kong International Race Day, one of the headline events being the HK$16.5 million Group 1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m).
Winner of last year’s Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris, Dansili four-year-old Flintshire comes off three close seconds this time in including behind Main Sequence when defeated over half a length in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf (2413m) in the USA on November 1.
That was on the back of a second in France’s premier mile-and-a-half championship, the iconic Group 1 Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe (2400m) when beaten two lengths by Treve in October.
That’s form Fabre is hoping his colt can bring to Hong Kong when he races at Sha Tin for the first time in the Vase over his pet distance.
Another top chance coming via a USA Group 1 is Just The Judge who ran third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf following wins in the Group 1 EP Taylor Stakes in October and last year’s Irish Thousand Guineas.
Two previous Hong Kong Vase winner are in the mix again in 2014 with the defending John Moore-trained champ Dominant (2013) and a name very familiar to Aussie race fans, triple Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux (2012).
Dominant however has been well beaten in his three runs this time in finishing at the tail end of the field in the Celebration Cup (12th), Sha Tin Trophy (13th) and the Group 2 Jockey Club Cup (2000m) when 11th to Hong Kong Cup hope Blazing Speed on November 23.
Ed Dunlop’s Red Cadeaux hasn’t raced since an historical third second place finish in ‘the race that stops a nation’ when four lengths off German stayer Protectionist in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
Other notable Europeans in the Hong Kong Vase field include top-class German stayer Empoli coming off his maiden Group 1 win in the Prieis von Europa (2413m) on September 28, Ireland’s Dewhurst Stakes winner Parish Hall and St Leger third placegetter at Doncaster Snow Sky.
Japan also have their largest Hong Kong International Races’ contingent this year with a total of 10 runners including Group 2 winner Curren Mirotic in the Vase who comes off a career-best run finishing second to Gold Ship in the Group 1 Takarazuka Kinen (2212m) at the end of June.
Along with track and distance specialist Dominant the other big name local hopes for the Vase trophy this season include five-time Shat Tin winner Khaya, Jockey Club Mile fifth placed Rainbow Chic and Willie Cazalas who was runner-up in the Derby Italiano in 2011.
See below for the full list of 2014 Hong Kong Vase hopefuls, betting odds for which will be open shortly at our No. 1 recommended bookie Ladbrokes.com.au!
2014 Hong Kong International Vase Field
Sha Tin Racecourse – December 14, 2014
Curren Mirotic (JPN)
Just The Judge (GB)
Parish Hall (IRE)
Red Cadeaux (GB)
Snow Sky (GB)
Bubble Chic (HK)
Rainbow Chic (HK)
Wayfoong Express (HK)
Willie Cazals (HK)