Two days until the richest day in Hong Kong racing history and trackwork on Friday went off without much of a hitch. German runner EMPOLI (below) was simply moving over the dirt surface and he couldn’t have looked fitter for the move, well within himself but full of energy and seems to be really coming to hand after finally managing a second career win last time.
Roger Charlton trainee CAPTAIN CAT (below) put in the best work of the morning on grass. While few made it to the grass course, with most going to the inner dirt “all-weather” surface, Captain Cat clocked his 400 metre blowout in 23.50 seconds.
Tonight in Hong Kong, jockey Ryan Moore is feted as the world’s top rider in a massive gala at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, while Saturday is the last down day before the big Sunday of racing. Analysis of the four main international races follows from DubaiRaceNight.com. Posted below are the full trackwork notes from the Hong Kong Jockey Club, with a load of interesting comments from the connections.
LONGINES Hong Kong Vase
BUBBLE CHIC (HK)
Worked on the all-weather track under Karis Teetan & clocked 1m 23.0s for 1200m (28.2, 27.6, 27.2).
Worked 1400m on the all-weather under Joao Moreira & clocked 25.8s for final 400m.
Trainer John Moore said: “He was out this morning – just putting the finishing touches. I’m very happy with him and he’s drawn a good gate in two. I just hope there’s a bit of cushion in the ground but it seems to be pretty fast.”
Worked on the all-weather track under trainer’s son Dennis Schiergen & covered 800m in 54.5s (29.5, 25.0) before going through the starting gate. The 4yo son of Halling has been fractious at the gate in the past, but gave no trouble this morning.
Peter Schiergen, trainer, said: “Easy. No problem at all.”
Worked on the AWT with Annelie Ackerman up and clocked 58.3s for 800m (29.5, 28.8).
Richard Lambert, travelling head lad: “Everything is in good order. He suddenly made a u-turn at the Mile chute because he was alone and had no other horses to follow. We start our canter over there and there was nobody around, and that makes him more playful. He’s in good form. Tomorrow, same routine again and then it’s the big race day. We couldn’t be more pleased.”
PARISH HALL (IRE)
Exercised on AWT with Kevin Manning up. Trainer Jim Bolger will not be at Sha Tin until Saturday morning, but his son-in-law and jockey Kevin Manning was there to have a sit on the horse. Parish Hall has not been drawing much attention to himself all week, and again did no more than a steady canter today. He will start from gate 9 in the LONGINES Hong Kong Vase on Sunday.
RED CADEAUX (GB)
Cantered on the dirt. Ed Dunlop was on hand at Sha Tin to see Red Cadeaux for the first time since the Melbourne Cup five weeks ago.
Trainer Ed Dunlop said: “Everything looks in good order with the horse. He’s on familiar territory here in Hong Kong, so he just settles in here and gets on with it. Gerald (Mosse) is happy to be drawn off the fence in gate 7, rather than down the inside, and he is the one making the decisions on the day. I hope there is pace in the race, as Red Cadeaux stays this trip and beyond, and so a crawl is not going to suit him, nor probably quite a few of the others as well.”
SNOW SKY (GB)
Worked on the turf under Ryan Moore & covered 800m in 53.3s (29.6, 23.7).
LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint
Jockey Zac Purton said: “He’s drawn a reasonably good gate and hopefully can settle one off (the rail) in fourth, fifth or sixth spot which is always a good place to be in the Sprint. I’m really looking forward to see how he measures up at this level. He’s a promising horse with terrific form leading into his latest run and he should measure up.”
Had a steady gallop on the turf and covered final 800m in 57.4s (31.8, 25.6)
Trainer Robert Heathcote said: “Very happy with that. We didn’t push him too hard, just wanted to see him get through it and he has. He’s sound, that’s the important thing.”
FLAGSHIP SHINE (HK)
Trainer John Moore said: “Nash was on Flagship Shine this morning and he, like all of my horses, is doing really well.”
GOLDEN HARVEST (HK)
Worked on the all-weather & clocked 26.9s for 400m.
LITTLE GERDA (JPN)
Cantered on the all-weather
Takeshi Noda, work rider, said: “She is maintaining her good form. We are very pleased that she can start from her ‘winning draw’ (Gate 1) and she has a big chance.”
LUCKY NINE (HK)
Trainer Caspar Fownes said: “He’s really well, in great shape. He doesn’t know he’s about to turn eight and he still has the zip. He’s ready to rock and roll on Sunday.”
SNOW DRAGON (JPN)
Cantered on the all-weather under jockey Takuya Ono
Manabu Kumada, assistant trainer, said: “He is very relaxed and is working nicely. He is very fit and well.”
LONGINES Hong Kong Mile
ABLE FRIEND (HK)
Trainer John Moore said: “Able Friend went around on the small track with his riding boy and looked to be enjoying every minute of it. He was getting up on the bit a little more than what he has been and I couldn’t be happier with him. They’re all in really fine form.”
CAPTAIN CAT (GB)
Steady work on the turf & quickened through final 400m in 23.5s.
Trainer Roger Charlton was at Sha Tin on Friday morning and said: “He’s done well out here, has travelled well and everything has gone as one would hope. It’s going to be very tough obviously against the local horses, but maybe it helps a bit that the favourite has been drawn widest of all on Sunday. Captain Cat is going to have to run a career best, but he will like the track and the fast ground which is what suits him, and he will be best suited by a strong pace in the race, which hopefully he will get.”
Worked easily on the all-weather under his work rider.
Hideaki Fujiwara, trainer, said: “He was very fresh this morning after his gallop yesterday. He had gate practice with the stalls handlers and he went through without any problem.”
HANA’S GOAL (JPN)
Cantered on the all-weather.
Shizuya Kato, work rider, said: “She was not in good form and was disappointing last time she raced, but she is getting better and better.”
TRADE STORM (GB)
Warmed up on the all-weather & then took things easy on the turf under work rider Laura Pike, quickening the final 400m in 27.1s.
Newmarket trainer David Simcock said: “That’s exactly the pace I wanted her to go at, she gets it just right. I don’t like putting a jockey up on the horse before the race, the horse can get lit up and try to go too quick. So far as Sunday is concerned, with this horse you know what you’ll get. Wherever he finishes, if it’s in sixth or if he’s in the shake-up, he’ll have run his race and tried his best, he doesn’t disappoint you.”
WORLD ACE (JPN)
Cantered on the turf under work rider.
Jockey Zac Purton said: “I popped down and sat on him in the gates. Just a little barrier practice as he’s been missing the start in his races. We had the handler up with him, this morning, in the stalls and we wanted him to get used to that. He was fine.”
LONGINES Hong Kong Cup
CIRRUS DES AIGLES (FR)
Easy work on the all-weather track with Zoe Gargoulaud up.
Corine Barande-Barbe, trainer: “I think he’s always relished softer ground because it’s felt safer to him. On a firmer surface, he wants to be in control and make sure he’s got his footing right, to better feel the leg that hurt him at some stage earlier in his career. It’s not that he has got a special ability on softer ground, only that he looks for the safest option. As you can see by reading his form, he’s done amazing things on good ground. Besides, he has probably never been in a better condition in all the times he has come here and we have got the right draw. We all look forward to Sunday.”
Jean-Jacques Poincelet, assistant trainer, said: “He may not look as swift on the all-weather nowadays but he’s in flying form. We have changed his routine a bit back home and here. It is probably the only time since we’ve been coming over here that he hasn’t gone on the turf in the week leading into the race. He also followed a lighter regime in France. Zoë (exercise rider) held him up a bit today and he was raring to go but that’s the way we want it to be. As he gets older, Cirrus probably wants it that way, even though he doesn’t like to go so slow.”
Worked on the all-weather track & covered 800m in 57.8s (29.3, 28.5).
DESIGNS ON ROME (HK)
Worked on the all-weather track under Joao Moreira (30.3s final 400m).
Trainer John Moore said: “Designs On Rome worked over 1400m on the dirt this morning. He got around in 1 minute 37 – but Moreira said the horse feels like he’s peaking at the right time. He just had an easy run around and enjoyed himself.”
Worked on the turf under Andrea Atzeni & wound up through final 400m in 25.0s.
Trainer’s assistant David Eustace said: “Nice easy gallop for him this morning. He’d done enough here leading into today and we really just wanted to open up his lungs this morning.”
Trainer Roger Varian said: “To my eye he looks better here than he did in Australia, he’s more relaxed here but brighter. I hope he can improve on his last run, but then again this will be tougher,” said Varian. His jockey Atzeni concurred: “He’s very well in good form, I feel sure.”
MILITARY ATTACK (HK)
Trainer Caspar Fownes said: “I’m still looking at the race from a tactical point of view and we’ll sort something out. He’s set for the race, he’s in good form and I think he has taken a little improvement from his last run.”
Jockey Zac Purton said: “It’s not an ideal gate for a horse like him but we know how good he is and Caspar (Fownes) and I will sort out the map. He’s a good chance in the race.”
PLEASURE GAINS (HK)
Worked on the all-weather under Gerald Mosse & clocked 53.3s for 800m (28.8, 24.5).
SAME WORLD (HK)
Worked in the all-weather under Nash Rawiller & clocked 1m 28.0s for 1200m (30.5, 30.3, 27.2).