2015 Hong Kong Cup Aim for Rising Romance

Former Oaks winning mare Rising Romance gets her chance to earn a Hong Kong Cup 2015 target at Sha Tin next month with a big run in Saturday’s Zipping Classic at Sandown Hillside.

Rising Romance (centre)

Rising Romance (centre) is racing for a Hong Kong Cup assignment in Saturday’s 2015 Zipping Classic at Sandown Hillside. Photo: Steve Hart.

The David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained daughter of Ekraar improved on unplaced runs this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival in the Turnbull Stakes (12th) and Caulfield Cup (13th) to finish just a half-length away second to French raider Gailo Chop last start on Derby Day.

She ran in Flemington’s Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m), at the same track and distance as her failed Turnbull run just two starts before, and caught the eye with her strong performance.

A winner of five of her 23 career starts to date for over $1.74 million in prize money, five-year-old Rising Romance kicked off her career in New Zealand where she was runner-up in the 2014 NZ Derby over the mile and a half.

Just two runs into her Australian career as a three-year-old that autumn she won the Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m), but has had just one win since back at Ellerslie in New Zealand in February this year.

She was runner-up in last year’s Caulfield Cup behind the ill-fated Japanese stayer Admire Rakti, but was well beaten when seven lengths off the winner Mongolian Khan in her second shot at the same race on October 17.

After the eye-catching Mackinnon run, co-trainer Hayes is hoping she can improve again on Saturday and earn an overseas assignment with a good run in the weight-for-age $300,000 Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m).

The stable also have Geelong Cup winner Almoonqith in the Zipping Classic nominations as well as the early entries for the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) over the two miles after his unplaced 18th to Prince Of Penzance ($101) over the same distance in the iconic Group 1 Melbourne Cup on November 3.

All going well this weekend and Rising Romance will begin preparations to fly to Hong Kong for the International Race Day on December 12 at Sha Tin Racecourse, the mare to target the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m).

“I’ll have a chat with the owners on whether they want to run her and then come back in distance in Hong Kong,” Hayes told AAP this week.

“She ran so well on the back-up from the Caulfield Cup to the Mackinnon and she’ll have a month back to the big race over there.”

A total of 14 Australian gallopers featured in the Hong Kong Cup entries this season including Melbourne Cup third placegetter Criterion for Hayes & Dabernig.

Along with Almoonqith and Rising Romance in the Zipping Classic, the other Group 2 nominated Lindsay Park horses this weekend are Flying Light and He’s Our Rokkii in the $250,000 Sandown Guineas (1600m).

The stable won last year’s Sandown Guineas with Petrology and both of their hopes of going back-to-back come out of Derby Day’s Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) won by Mahuta.

New Zealand import He’s Our Rokkii ran fourth beaten just over a length while Exceed And Excel gelding Flying Light ran three and a quarter lengths back in sixth as a 21/1 shot in betting.

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