The upcoming weekend offers the highly anticipated International Races at Sha Tin and we bring you the Hong Kong racing odds, teams from Europe and Japan are willing to face the locals. In four G1 races, Hong Kong seems to have the most significant chance to strike gold in the Hong Kong Mile thanks to superb performer Golden Sixty, while the rest of the closely watched action could end up in the success of Japanese raiders.
They have strong hands in the Hong Kong Cup (Loves Only You, Lei Papale, Hishi Iguazu), Hong Kong Sprint (Pixie Knight, Danon Smash, Resistencia), and also Hong Kong Vase as Glory Vase will attempt becoming a back to back winner there; however, Aidan O’Brien’s Mogul is about to try to achieve the very same thing.
Still, they have to challenge other exciting participants, including Pyledriver, while to list some of the other interesting horses from Europe, we cannot forget Classic winners Mac Swiney and Mother Earth, and then Bolshoi Ballet or Dubai Honour, placed in the G1 Champion Stakes at Ascot.
Hong Kong Vase
The first turf G1 of the card resembles a true international clash as the purse of 20,000,000 HKD attracted a field of eight three-year-old and older horses from five different countries. They are about to cover the distance of a mile and a half, while the race also features two past winners, Glory Vase (5-4) and Mogul (5-1). The former is a six-year-old horse trained by Tomohito Ozeki in Japan, where he enjoyed some successes at the Grade scene; however, his triumph in Hong Kong in 2019 has been his biggest win up to this date. In 2020, he scored a G2 and placed second in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II, confirming he just adores running in Hong Kong; moreover, he should arrive there in fine form as, during autumn, Glory Vase finished third in the G2.
The question of form surrounds four-year-old Mogul trained by Aidan O’Brien as the colt won the G1 Grand Prix de Paris in 2020, upon which he ran well in Keeneland and rallied to first place in Hong Kong; however, he hasn’t shown anything at least remotely close to what he had done in 2020. Of course, he can bounce back with another triumph here as he’s a classy colt, but in terms of form, there doesn’t seem to be any.
Four-year-old filly Ebaiyra (10-1) travels from France where she scored a G2 victory and placed among the G1 company, while four-year-old colt Pyledriver (9-5) represents a genuine rag to riches story as he was bought cheaply, yet, he developed into a G1 Coronation Cup winner for William Muir and Chris Grassick. The always hard trying bay has had some health issues and was forces5- to leave out most of the European season. However, he came back with a victory in a Listed in November, and thus, he could be fit enough to take on the bests of the Hong Kong Vase field. The last participants to mention are six-year-old Columbus County (20-1) and Reliable Team (40-1), who are the best chances for the locals.
|Horse||Jockey||Racing Odds courtesy of JazzSports|
|GLORY VASE||J Moreira||+125|
|COLUMBUS COUNTY||K Teetan||+2000|
|STAY FOOLISH||C Y Ho||+1100|
|RELIABLE TEAM||K C Leung||+4000|
Our betting pick for the Hong Kong Vase is Glory Vase who is classy, tough, and could be in form.
Hong Kong Sprint
The 6-furlong long sprint is open to three-year-old and older horses who will compete for the purse of 30,000,000 HKD. This turf race is no exception to the Mile and Cup as it looks the locals have decent representatives here but are about to be challenged by some exciting Japanese chances. To list the Hong Kong sprinters at first, Hot King Prawn (16-1) deserves to be mentioned right away, given he belongs among the most famous horses here. The seven-year-old grey hasn’t won a single G1 race until January 2021, when he scored the Centenary Sprint Cup after he bagged some G2 victories.
Hot King Prawn competed three times in the Hong Kong Sprint, earning some money, especially when finishing second in 2019; however, it seems unlikely for him to repeat the performance, bearing in mind his premiere start in the new season resulted in eighth place in the G2 Jockey Club Sprint. In other words, he didn’t shine in the trial for Sunday’s race, while five-year-old Lucky Patch (5-1) undoubtedly did. The K W Lui bound gelding has enjoyed successful autumn as he placed twice at first, upon which he bagged two G2 victories, including the mentioned Jockey Club Sprint, where he ran down all of his rivals thanks to a powerful turn-of-foot.
Of course, Naboo Attack (11-1) and Sky Field (10-1) were also finishing strongly, and their records suggest they should be capable of bettering Lucky Patch, yet the subsequent winner just looked prepared to put on a huge fight had the rival closed on him more. Truth be told, most of the trial participants have a solid chance on Sunday as their class seems more or less equal, and therefore, Courier Wonder (15-2) and Wellington (9-1) are prize money candidates as well.
Still, the Japanese raiders could well leave any of the mentioned horses behind. We’re talking here about six-year-old Danon Smash (9-1) trained by Takayuki Yasuda, who scored some G3 victories in Japan before he bagged a G2 win there, upon which he caused a mild upset in last year’s Hong Kong Sprint.
Danon Smash then scored also the G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen ahead of Resistencia (5-1); however, his following couple of starts resulted in sixth places. He might get back into shape in time, but Resistencia has developed into an outstanding four-year-old filly, winning the G2 Sankei Sho Centaur Stakes by a neck to Pixie Knight (9-4), to who she lost in the G1 Sprinters Stakes. It’s fair to say that Pixie Knight looked just unbeatable on that day.
The three-year-old colt trained by Hidetaka Otonashi was a G1 winner in the making, which he proved on that day in October. If he shows similar determination on Sunday, he’s going to be difficult to beat. Still, Resistencia is the one who could actually leave him behind once more as last time out, she was extraordinarily unlucky and couldn’t find a spot to unfold her finish in time. On a more level playfield, their clash should be mouth-watering.
|Horse||Jockey||Racing Odds courtesy of JazzSports|
|HOT KING PRAWN||R Moore||+1600|
|PIXIE KNIGHT||Y Fukunaga||+225|
|DANON SMASH||Y Kawada||+900|
|LUCKY PATCH||Z Purton||+500|
|SKY FIELD||B Shinn||+1000|
|COMPUTER PATCH||D Lane||+3300|
|NABOO ATTACK||K Teetan||+1100|
|AMAZING STAR||L Hewitson||+9900|
|STRONGER||C Y Ho||+2500|
|COURIER WONDER||J Moreira||+750|
Our top horse betting pick for the Hong Kong Sprint is Resistencia, who bettered Pixie Knight once, and she could do it for the second time, no doubts.
Hong Kong Mile
Three-year-old and older horses will clash in this G1 turf race at the distance of a mile, where the purse of 26,000,000 HKD is up for grabs. The event usually ends up in a triumph of local stars, while one participant worthy of such a title heads into the race in 2021, too. His name is Golden Sixty (1-2). The six-year-old gelding trained by K W Lui has 19 starts under his belt, from which he failed to win just one in 2019.
Otherwise, he’s always crossed the wire in the first position, including four G1 races. In 2020, the phenomenal Hong Kong horse commenced his extraordinarily successful campaign by victories in the G3 and G2 races, upon which he faced the fierce competition of the Hong Kong Mile, denying another wins to the past victors of the race, Admire Mars and Beauty Generation. Since then, Golden Sixty rallied from the rear of the field to capture the Stewards’ Cup, Hong Kong Gold Cup, and also Champions Mile.
The bay then entered the new season in November when maintaining his superb record thanks to a win in the G2 Jockey Club Mile, leaving behind some of his Sunday’s rivals. Golden Sixty is a true champ and a clear favourite for bagging a back-to-back success in this race, yet the competition shouldn’t be discarded just because there’s Golden Sixty in the field.
As mentioned, the gelding won the Jockey Club Mile by a length with Waikuku (12-1) running in second. The six-year-old gelding has enjoyed some lucrative results in Hong Kong as he scored the G1 Stewards’ Cup in 2020 and Queen’s Jubilee Cup in 2021; moreover, he finished second in the Hong Kong Mile 2019. Together with Sky Darci (20-1) and More Than This (33-1), they form a strong hand the locals have in terms of acquiring places in the Hong Kong Mile as all of them are decent horses, capable of solid performances among the elite.
The Japanese raiders look interesting in this race as well, given Danon Kingly (11-2) scored the G1 Yasuda Kinen in June, bettering even awesome mare Gran Alegria. Moreover, he finished second last time out when beaten only by Schnell Meister, who then went on to grab third in the Mile Championship. Danon Kingly is in fine form and should play an impactful role here, while Indy Champ (10-1) is also a horse with a G1 victory under his belt, yet he achieved it in 2019.
Since then, the six-year-old horse has been able to show great effort among the elite, but in this company, taking fifth will be a success for him. The last contestant to mention is Mother Earth (25-1), representing Europe and Aidan O’Brien. The three-year-old mare won the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, travelled to France, Ireland, and the US throughout the season, bagging the G1 Prix Rothschild and placing in the five other G1 races.
She didn’t impress in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, yet she must’ve come out quite fresh of the race; otherwise, the trainer wouldn’t have pointed her to another big race, given she’s had a challenging campaign behind her. Mother Earth is an undoubtedly classy filly, but such a tough start doesn’t seem something she needs right now. Still, she should be respected.
|Horse||Jockey||Odds courtesy of JazzSports|
|GOLDEN SIXTY||C Y Ho|
|DANON KINGLY||Y Kawada|
|INDY CHAMP||Y Fukunaga|
|MORE THAN THIS||K C Leung|
|VIN DE GARDE||K Teetan|
|SKY DARCI||J Moreira|
|EXCELLENT PROPOSAL||B Shinn|
|LUCKY EXPRESS||A Hamelin|
|MOTHER EARTH||R Moore|
Our betting pick for the Hong Kong Mile is:
Obviously Golden Sixty because he’s the local star, but for wagering purposes, Golden Sixty’s odds aren’t appealing. Thus placing something on Danon Kingly could be considered, given he’s in form, he’s consistent, and definitely should snatch a fine place in this race.
Hong Kong Cup
The G1 turf race held at the distance of a mile and a quarter has been quite generous to the local stars and Japanese raiders in recent history, while especially the Japanese have a solid chance to score the 24,000,000 HKD race once again. Among 12 three-year-old and older horses, Loves Only You (17-10) attracts most attention as the five-year-old mare brought about so much joy at the Breeders’ Cup meeting, delivering the very first Japanese victory there when thronging in between her rivals, winning the BC Filly & Mare Turf at a distance longer by a furlong than Sunday’s race.
The Yoshito Yahagi bound bay has been able to place in several prestigious races over the years, including Dubai Sheema Classic or Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Hanshin. Moreover, Loves Only You has reached glory even in Hong Kong already by scoring the G1 Queen Elizabeth II in April.
The mare doesn’t mind travelling, and she really seems not to care where she’s running; therefore, Loves Only You needs to be taken into consideration again as she’s classy and adamant. She’ll be accompanied on her journey to another G1 prize by five-year-old Hishi Iguazu (16-1), a winner of the G2 Nakayama Kinen, and four-year-old filly Lei Papale (5-1), who was unbeaten until June when she got bettered by Chrono Genesis in the G1 Takarazuka Kinen, upon which she didn’t show anything special on two occasions despite running only against fillies and mares.
In terms of locals, six-year-old Ka Ying Star (16-1) looks interesting. Trained by Anthony Cruz, the bay gelding has 36 starts under his belt, and even though he hasn’t won a single G1 race yet, he’s placed several times at the Grade scene and looks to be in fine form in these times of the year.
Ka Ying Star indeed failed to win his last three outings, but he wasn’t bettered by far; moreover, he had to face rivals, carrying way less weight than he had to. Something similar applies to Glorious Dragon (14-1). Still, the Japanese mare seems more likely winner than them, while the European raiders definitely would love to have their say here, too. It’s no surprise Aidan O’Brien sent one of his charges to Hong Kong as in two past editions of the race, his mares Magic Wand and Magical performed well when placing; however, three-year-old Bolshoi Ballet (25-1) doesn’t look that appealing in the renewal.
He’s a fine colt for sure, but he delivered his best victorious effort in the Belmont International Stakes, which is a G1 event, yet its quality is far from the one of the Hong Kong Cup.
On the one hand, his European rivals seem classier; on the other one, Bolshoi Ballet will relish the firmer ground, and he is probably unfazed by travelling, which should come in handy. He could spring some surprise here. Despite being a great horse, it’s hard to imagine Mac Swiney (16-1) running a giant race here as the Jim Bolger’s charge has thrived only on soft ground.
The Irish 2000 Guineas winner took third in the G1 Champion Stakes even though he faced the firmer ground, but Dubai Honour (5-2) was better when finishing second to Sealiway. He’s another colt who would benefit from a softer surface under his hooves, yet William Haggas’s charge could play an impactful role here.
|Horse||Jockey||Odds courtesy of JazzSports|
|KA YING STAR||M Chadwick||+1600|
|GLORIOUS DRAGON||Z Purton||+1400|
|HISHI IGUAZU||J Moreira||+1600|
|RUSSIAN EMPEROR||B Shinn||+2000|
|TOURBILLON DIAMOND||A Badel||+2500|
|BERLIN TANGO||C Y Ho||+9900|
|DUBAI HONOUR||T Marquand||+250|
|MAC SWINEY||K Manning||+1600|
|BOLSHOI BALLET||R Moore||+2500|
|LEI PAPALE||C Soumillon||+500|
|LOVES ONLY YOU||Y Kawada||+170|