With the biggest race meeting of Hong Kong’s racing calendar set to be held next weekend, the four Longines sponsored Group 1 races have drawn together outstanding fields of international runners.
With Australian-breds playing a significant part in this day for many years, a handful of runners are aiming to continue that tradition.
Dual winners Falvelon, Silent Witness and Sacred Kingdom along with Absolute Champion, Fairy King Prawn and Inspiration have seen the AUS suffix carried to victory on nine occasions in the last 15 years of the Hong Kong Sprint. In 2015, the John Moore-trained Not Listenin’tome and Tony Millard’s Strathmore will fly the Australian flag.
Both trained in Hong Kong, Strathmore is a son of Coolmore Stud’s Champion sire Fastnet Rock out of the Group 1-winning mare Our Egyptian Raine, and while he is stepping up considerably in class, the four-year-old is coming into the race in good form, winning two of his four starts this season.
Not Listenin’tome (Dylan Thomas) started his career in Australian under the care of Hawkes Racing where arguably his best performance came in defeat, running second to Zoustar in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes at just his fourth career start.
A runner up to Appearance in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes, the gelding was then transferred to Gary Moore in Australia where he had three more starts before heading to the stable of John Moore in Hong Kong. A winner of two local Group 3 races Not Listenin’tome (below) finished third last time out in the Group 2 Jockey Club Sprint behind Gold-Fun and Peniaphobia, both who he will meet again on Sunday in the sprint.
The Hong Kong International Mile also sees Australian-bred consistently in the winning frame with the likes of Glorious Days winning in 2013 before Able Friend’s stunning four and a quarter length victory last season.
Aiming to go back to back in the race, the John Moore-trained Hong Kong Horse of the Year Able Friend (Shamardal) was surprisingly beaten last time out in his final lead up run, the Group 2 Jockey Club Mile, but not all went right in the run.
“He’s well enough. People might put it down to a flat run but I’d put it down to circumstances – the pattern of the race and so forth, stated Moore post-race.
“He’ll be absolutely right for the Mile in December.”
Victory to Able Friend would see his Dalakhani half-brother to be offered at next year’s Inglis Easter Yearling Sale receive a significant pedigree update.
Finishing second in that race was fellow Australian-bred Contentment (Hussonet) who will also be stepping out in the mile, this time for trainer John Size.
Contentment was a winner of the Hong Kong Group 2 Sha Tin Trophy two starts back over Beauty Only with last week’s Group 2 winners Military Attack and Beauty Flame finishing third and fourth respectively.
The final Australian-bred to contest the mile is the John Moore-trained Secret Sham (Shamardal) who finished ninth behind stablemate Able Friend in the same race last year, but ended the season with victory at local Group 3 level over 1400m.
While no Australian-breds will contest the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m), the progeny of Australian-bred, Group 1-winning stallions Sebring and Savabeel, will be represented by their Group 1 winning progeny Criterion and Lucia Valentia.