The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Aidan O’Brien’s Australian-performed Irish galloper Highland Reel is clear favourite to take out Sunday’s Hong Kong Vase 2016 at Sha Tin Racecourse on the world-famous Hong Kong International Race Day.
The Galileo stallion is one of 13 hopefuls confirmed to face off in the HK$16.5 million (AUD$2.8m) Longines Hong Kong Vase (2400m) over the mile and a half.
The galloper won the Hong Kong Vase 12 months ago handing O’Brien his first win at the Hong Kong International Races (HKIR) meeting and is looking to go back-to-back this weekend.
Known to Aussie punters for his third to Winx in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) in October of 2015, Highland Reel is at a current short quote of $2.30 in Hong Kong Vase betting at Ladbrokes.com.au to successfully defend his title.
Highland Reel has raced eight times across six countries this year including his November win in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita in the USA.
Ryan Moore has the ride on the horse on Sunday and the clear favourite is deserving so looking hard to beat.
His biggest danger according the bookies is Big Orange who pays $7 in the Hong Kong Vase odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
European-trained stayers have a dominant record in the Hong Kong Vase with 19 wins from the 22 editions of the race since its inauguration in 1994.
The Michael Bell-trained Big Orange is another out to add to that record, the Duke Of Marmalade gelding hailing from Great Britain.
He has twice contested Australia’s most famous race – the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) – running fifth to Prince Of Penzance in 2015 and a luckless 10th to Almandin this year.
Also down under in the sprint Big Orange crossed third only a quarter-length off the winner Beautiful Romance in the Group 2 Sandown Classic (2400m) last start.
Following closely in the markets on the Hong Kong Vase field 2016 are Silverwave ($8) and Nuovo Record ($8.50).
Pascal Bary trains four-year-old Silverwave who has been on a steady improve over the past season after a stellar three-year-old campaign in France in 2015.
He has plenty of winning form at home over the 2400m and has finished out of the money just once this year when seemingly outclassed in the iconic Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe last time out.
He’s out to atone for that run and should be up on the speed just behind the leaders with jockey Maxime Guyon saving him for the final 400m sectional.
Nuovo Record represents Japan in the Vase line-up and is a quality mare prepared by Makoto Saito.
She’s a Japanese Oaks winner at the distance from 2014 and has done the majority of her racing since in elite level company.
Last HKIR day she finished second in the Hong Kong Cup, but she’s up over 2400m for the first time since her aforementioned Oaks success two years ago.
Other notable hopes include Smart Layer for who the distance is the big test and the Alain de Royer Dupre-trained stallion One Foot In Heaven who is a beautifully bred son of Fastnet Rock from Pride.
Head to our No. 1 recommended bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au now for the full Hong Kong Vase 2016 betting odds and options.
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