Elite Group 1 stars are prominent among the 293 first stage nominations for the HK$84.5 million Longines Hong Kong International Races, which will take place at Sha Tin Racecourse on Sunday 10th December.
World horseracing’s year-end showcase has attracted 59 Group/Grade1 winners among the 210 individual horses engaged, including top horses from Europe, Japan, USA, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. The entries feature horses from 13 jurisdictions spanning five continents, and Japan has the largest bloc of overseas entries with 51 (13 more than in 2016).
The four-race Turf World Championships consists of the HK$25 million Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Cup (2,000m), the HK$23 million Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Mile (1,600m), the HK$18.5 million Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1,200m) and the HK$18 million Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Vase (2,400m).
Among the heavyweights from overseas under consideration for a tilt at one of the features are Ireland’s 2015 Longines Hong Kong Vase hero Highland Reel and his stablemate, the top-class filly Roly Poly; Britain’s mile star Ribchester; Japan’s QEII Cup winner Neorealism, as well as Real Steel, Satono Aladdin and recent classic scorer Kiseki; France’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe runner-up Cloth Of Stars; and two of the USA’s brightest talents, Roy H and Oscar Performance.
Cloth Of Stars (=6), Ribchester (8) and Highland Reel (=9) rank in the top 10 in the latest edition of the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings.
The Hong Kong contingent numbers 59 against 151 overseas nominations, and includes former Hong Kong Horse of the Year Werther, as well as last year’s Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Mile winner Beauty Only and the crack sprinters Lucky Bubbles and Mr Stunning.