Sydney’s premier horseman Chris Waller is set to saddle-up his maiden runner in Hong Kong next month with his dual Group 1 winner Preferment on track for a Hong Kong Vase 2015 run at Sha Tin Racecourse.
Two David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Group 1 champions in Criterion and Lucia Valentina are confirmed for a Hong Kong Cup run on December 13, and now this year’s Cox Plate winning trainer Waller is set to also be represented at the prestigious Hong Kong International Race Day.
Four Group 1 races highlight the card including the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m), worth approximately AUD$1.67 million to the winning horse, where Waller hopes to saddle-up his four-year-old son of Zabeel Preferment.
The stallion took out last year’s Victoria Derby as a three-year-old and became a two-time Group 1 winner three runs into his latest campaign with success in Flemington’s Turnbull Stakes (2000m) in early October.
His next two runs produced unplaced efforts when ninth to stablemate Winx in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley and his failed 20th behind upset $101 winner Prince Of Penzance in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) over the two miles.
Waller is now confident the $1.5 million earner can bounce back when back in distance for the Hong Kong Vase, a race that is yet to be won by an Australian-trained horse.
Hayes & Dabernig’s last start Sandown Cup winning import Almoonqith ($4.20), who ran a luckless 18th in the ‘race that stops a nation’ after a Geelong Cup victory in October, and the defending winner Flintshire ($4.50) lead the all-in Hong Kong Vase odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Preferment is yet to be added to the markets, but Waller is keen to put him to the test and increase his value at stud with his first mile and a half triumph since the Victoria Derby over 12 months ago.
Currently riding on a short-term Japanese contract overseas, jockey Hugh Bowman is rumoured to take the Hong Kong Vase mount on Preferment having ridden him for three of his five runs this campaign including the Hill Stakes and Turnbull Stakes wins.
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