Andre Fabre’s French raider Flintshire has firmed in his favouritisim to win Sunday’s Hong Kong Vase 2014 after coming up trumps with barrier four for the mile and a half classic.
One of four elite levels on the Sha Tin international race card on Sunday, this year’s HK$16.5 million Group 1 The Longines Hong Kong Vase (2400m) features a dozen stayers led by Flintshire.
The Dansili four-year-old is after his first win since the Group 1 Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (2400m) back in July last year.
While it’s been a long time between drinks, he spent over eight months on the sidelines at the start of this year and has been in top form since coming back for his latest preparation in September.
In his three runs this time in he’s finished second including behind Treve in the coveted Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (2400m) at Longchamp in early October.
His last start was then in the USA at Santa Anita in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup (2413m) on November 1 when just half a length off Main Sequence.
It’s been an ideal lead-up for the champion then who will again be ridden by Maxime Guyon, Flintshire the dominant $2.50 favourite in Hong Kong Vase betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The next best in betting is the triple Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux in barrier eight with Gerald Mosse to ride the Ed Dunlop-trained warhorse.
Europe’s veteran galloper has gone even longer without a win not having saluted in two years.
His latest victory was at Sha Tin however when he won this race in 2012 over Jaguar Mail.
Last year he returned and ran fourth to Dominant after getting caught wide without cover.
Twelve months ago he came off a Melbourne Cup second and he does the same this season last seen finishing four lengths off German stayer Protectionist in the famous two mile handicap at Flemington on November 4.
Reigning Hong Kong Vase winner Dominant did it last year with Zac Purton aboard from barrier 12 on the back of an unplaced run (8th) in the Jockey Club Cup.
This year he was also well beaten when fading late to run 11th and beat home just one other runner in the Group 2 Jockey Club Cup (2000m) won by Blazing Speed.
Connections of the John Moore-trained stallion will be hoping he can bounce back again then when he jumps from barrier two with Joao Moreira replacing Mosse in the saddle.
The other best fancied hopes are then Snow Sky and Curren Mirotic drawn in barriers six and seventh respectively.
Sir Michael Stoute’s three-year-old Nayef colt Snow Sky comes off some exciting form back home in Europe including his last start third behind Kingston Hill in the Group 1 Ladbrokes St Leger Stake (2937m) at Doncaster on September 13.
The lightly-raced Heart’s Cry gelding Curren Mirotic, one of the last to draw, represents Japan in the race and was last seen running second behind Gold Ship in the Grade 1 Takarazuka Kinen (2212m) back in June.
“There was only 1, 4 and 7 left. It was a lucky 7. Perfect draw for him,” his trainer Osamu Hirata said.
Also drawn well in barrier three is the Tony Cruz-trained Willie Cazals, a Douglas Whyte mount who goes up to the 2400m for the first time since May last year when just defeated by Dominant in the Group 3 Memorial Cup.
I believe the mile and a half will be perfect for him, he’s in good form and now he has a good draw,” Cruz said.
“He’s spot on for this race.”
See below for the full Hong Kong Vase 2014 field and barriers then, make sure you have an account open at Ladbrokes.com.au and ready to go this weekend!
2014 Hong Kong Sprint Field & Barrier Draw
Sha Tin Race 4 (2:00pm local time) – 14/12/2014
|1||FLINTSHIRE||M Guyon||4||A Fabre|
|2||DOMINANT||J Moreira||2||J Moore|
|3||CURREN MIROTIC||K Ikezoe||7||O Hirata|
|4||TEMPOLI||A de Vries||12||P Schiergen|
|5||RED CADEAUX||G Mosse||8||E A L Dunlop|
|6||BUBBLE CHIC||K Teetan||9||D J Hall|
|7||PARISH HALL||K Manning||10||J S Bolger|
|8||WILLIE CAZALS||D Whyte||3||A S Cruz|
|9||RAINBOW CHIC||B Prebble||1||C Fownes|
|10||KHAYA||M Demuro||11||J Size|
|11||WAYFOONG EXPRESS||Z Purton||5||R Gibson|
|12||SNOW SKY||R Moore||6||Sir M R Stoute|