Clear favourite in Sunday’s Hong Kong Vase 2014, the Andre Fabre-trained French raider Flintshire finally saluted for the punters winning his maiden Group 1 trophy at Sha Tin Racecourse.
The Dansili four-year-old came off a succession of second place finishes this time in but was able to beat home all of his rivals in his maiden Hong Kong run in the lucrative HK$16.5million Group 1 The Longines Hong Kong Vase (2400m) on Hong Kong International Race Day.
“It was really important for us to win this race,” racing manager for Flintshire’s owner Khalid Abdullah, Teddy Grimthorpe told Sky Sports.
“It was absolutely thrilling because we’ve had a couple of near-misses before.”
Flintshire was firing on all cylinders for jockey Maxime Guyon in the Vase over his pet distance, the galloper having raced exclusively in mile-and-a-half races since June last year, beating home the Douglas Whyte-ridden Willi Cazals for champion Hong Kong trainer Tony Cruz by half a length.
In third was then five-time Sha Tin winner Khaya, who was up front and leading for most of the race and so doing well to hang in for a top three finish, just ahead of the defending Hong Kong Vase winner and reigning Hong Kong Racehorse of the Year Dominant.
Triple Melbourne Cup runner-up and 2012 Hong Kong Vase winner, the Ed Dunlop-trained Red Cadeaux meanwhile ran a disappointing sixth ahead of a possible return to Australia in 2015.
“We’ll continue running overseas and while there are some races I like the look of in Australia, it could be that we try him on dirt,” Dunlop said.
“There is the Gold Cup over two miles in Dubai to consider.”
First-up in September Flintshire was second in the Group 2 Prix Foy (2400m) ahead of a second-up run when runner-up to Treve in one of the world’s great races – the Group 1 Prix de L’Arc De Triomphe (2400m) on October 5.
His lead-up into the Hong Kong Vase was then on November 1 in the USA when half a length off Main Sequence in the prestigious Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf (2413m).
His assignment on Sunday then proved a somewhat easier assignment, his ability to stay and strong turn of foot helping amend for a slow pace.
“I was a bit worried when they went no pace, and I was yelling from the stands to encourage Maxime to go on,” Grimthorpe said.
“But this horse has a very good turn of foot, combined with his stamina.
“Maxime has given him a super ride coming through to win quite easily in the end.”
Connections will now keep Flintshire in work before travelling him again next year including a likely trip to Dubai in March.
“He stays in training and we will map out an international campaign next year,” Grimthorpe said.
“We will certainly look at Dubai in March.”
The full Hong Kong Vase 2014 results are detailed below, odds on all the runners in their next assignments available online at Ladbrokes.com.au!
2014 Hong Kong Vase Results
|Place||Horse No.||Horse||Jockey||Draw||Finish Time|
|2||8||WILLIE CAZALS(N119)||D Whyte||3||2.29.92|
|5||3||CURREN MIROTIC(T616)||K Ikezoe||6||2.30.29|
|6||5||RED CADEAUX(N618)||G Mosse||7||2.30.29|
|7||12||SNOW SKY(T620)||R Moore||5||2.30.58|
|8||4||EMPOLI(T617)||A de Vries||11||2.30.91|
|9||6||BUBBLE CHIC(N369)||K Teetan||8||2.31.18|
|10||7||PARISH HALL(T618)||K Manning||9||2.31.23|
|11||9||RAINBOW CHIC(P118)||B Prebble||1||2.34.34|
|—||11||WAYFOONG EXPRESS(P262)||Z Purton||—||—|