Below are the official track notes from trackwork on Tuesday, courtesy of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Comments from the connections are ever-present in the notes, which can always provide some insight to a horse’s preparation.
The HKJC’s Bill Nader previews Wednesday’s International Jockeys’ Championship from Happy Valley.
Gary Stevens, Richard Hughes, and Mike Smith catch-up with Simon Burgess to discuss his thoughts prior to the IJC.
LONGINES Hong Kong International Races Tuesday track notes
There was an increased buzz of activity at Sha Tin this morning as more of the international press turned out and there was plenty to see on the track. Ireland’s Vase hope Simenon was one of two to work on the turf, clocking 1m 26.2s for 1200m, while USA contender King Kreesa limbered up for the Mile with a steady 1200m breeze in 1m 21.6s.
LONGINES Hong Kong Vase
ASUKA KURICHAN (JPN)
Cantered on the all-weather under jockey Takuma Ogino who is the horse’s exercise rider.
Trainer Naosuke Sugai said: “Everything has gone well, as planned, so far. It was his first day to work on the track yesterday so he was as fit as a fiddle. This morning, he was more relaxed and cantered comfortably. We will give him a gallop on the all-weather tomorrow.”
Trainer John Moore said: “He’s a little bit thick in the wind but we’ve got used to that now. He worked along withAshkiyr this morning and it was good work over about a mile. He’ll go through his final gallop on Friday just to top him off.”
The seven-year-old is visiting Sha Tin for the third consecutive winter and he seems to be regarded by the other French challengers as a schoolmaster leading them on the all weather track, bar Cirrus Des Aigles, who does things his own way after four visits.
Exercise rider Mathieu Brasme commented: “He hardly raced at all 10 days ago so he’s not tired!”
Exercised on the all-weather track.
Jean-Michel Roux, travelling head lad for Alain de RoyerDupre said: “Her morning rider lets her do what she likes but once they are at work, it all falls in place. Those two love each other! I guess that the filly will work on the turfon Thursday, like most of them.”
MOUNT ATHOS (GB)
Cantered and then walked down the turf track to the parade ring, a regular pattern for the horse.
Charlie Henson, representing trainer Luca Cumani, commented: “This helps with acclimatisation. It is a tried and tested system used in the past by Mr Cumani with the likes ofFalbrav and Presvis. Mount Athos is enjoying the warmer weather and is in good shape. He’ll do some work on the turf at some point later in the week.”
Like plenty of others Henson pointed in only one direction regarding the most likely winner of this year’s Vase. “If The Fugue shows up at the top of her game, she’ll be hard to beat.”
RED CADEAUX (GB)
Went a steady 800m on the all-weather in 1m 02.9s (splits: 34.5, 28.4)
The 2013 Dubai World Cup and Melbourne Cup runner-up continues to “tick over well” according to his long time handler Robin Trevor-Jones. This year the gelding comes to Hong Kong directly from Melbourne whereas last year he went from Melbourne to the Japan Cup before winning the Vase.
Trevor-Jones, representing trainer Ed Dunlop, said: “He had a pretty tough run in this year’s Melbourne Cup so it was decided to miss Japan. He was tired after Flemington but is sparking up again now as he always does. He’s a wonderful horse who always gives his best and I’m happy with how he’s looking. He’s probably ready now for a bit of a blowtomorrow.”
LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint
CERISE CHERRY (HK)
Worked 800m (all-weather) in 48.3s (splits: 26.0, 22.3).
Jockey Matthew Chadwick said: “The draw is going to be important for him. I just galloped him this morning and he was very relaxed – he does his own thing but he’ll wake up on race day. I gave him a squeeze and he responded – he knows what he’s doing.
EAGLE REGIMENT (HK)
Manfred Man, trainer of Eagle Regiment: “We’ll work himtomorrow. We just want to keep him fresh – he’s six now so I know him – it will be an easy, normal pace. My horse can run fresh. He ran very well in Dubai when he missed track work. The main thing is I can’t push him that hard – if I do, maybe he would not make the race. It will be a headache if he draws wide but if he gets the inside draw he will get a good chance and it will be very close. But Japan’s horse (Lord Kanaloa) is very strong.”
LORD KANALOA (JPN)
Had a routine canter on the all-weather under regular exercise rider Shogo Yasuda who is a son of trainer Takayuki Yasuda.
Ryuji Iwamoto, assistant trainer, said: “We are very happy with his good condition. As I saw him working this morning, he was full of beans and wanted to go faster, which was a good sign, but he seemed to keep in good contact with the rider. He will have a gallop on turf tomorrow.”
SOLE POWER (IRE) and SLADE POWER (IRE)
Irish trainer Edward Lynam, who is two handed in the Hong Kong Sprint, was at Sha Tin on Tuesday morning for the first time as Sole Power and Slade Power put in routine canters on the all-weather track. He reported that all was well with his pair:
“They have both travelled well and have settled in here with no bother, which is the main thing,” he said of his King’s Stand Stakes Royal Ascot winner. “I hope they will run their races on Sunday. Sole Power has been running well all season, he’s an experienced horse, getting wiser as he gets older –a bit like his trainer! He’ll need to run a lot better than he did in this race two years ago (9th in 2011), but if he relaxes in the race he’ll get the six furlongs alright. He’s fresh and well and his training has been good.”
Speaking of Slade Power, winner of the Group 2 British Champions Sprint on his most recent start at Ascot in October, Lynam said “ He’s an improving horse, winning a couple of Group 3 races, being placed in a Group 1 race, and winning a Group 2. If he breaks well, he’ll run a good race.”
Lynam plans to put Slade Power through the starting gate on Friday morning, and let him break from the gate for a hundredmetres or so, in an effort to ensure that all goes right on the big day for this occasionally erratic starter.
LONGINES Hong Kong Mile
DAN EXCEL (HK)
Worked 1200m (turf) along with Military Attack in 1m 17.4 s (splits: 27.1, 26.9, 23.4)
Trainer John Moore said: “He went through his paces with Military Attack on the turf this morning and he worked very well. He’ll have another three-quarter pace work on Fridaymorning to apply the finishing touches.”
The distinctive grey had a steady canter on the all-weather track and has pleased connections with steady improvement in his condition over the past 48 hours according to stable manager Troy Corstens who ventured to Sha Tin for the first time this morning.
Corstens said: “The horse is coming good. He’s back on his tucker now after taking a few days to settle in. He lost around 15kg on the trip over but he’s nearly put that all back on now. Just three or four kilos to go.
“He looks great in the coat. It’s always a little hard to tell with greys but I think he’s the healthiest in the coat right now that he’s ever been. Being stabled alone isn’t ideal but the Jockey Club has helped us out with a few things including a mirror in his box and that seems to have helped.
“Carolyn (Mason) is happy with him and she’s looked after the horse ever since he joined our stable. We haven’t done a great deal with him here in Hong Kong but he’s not a gross horse. He doesn’t take a lot of work but he will probably have a more serious workout on Thursday morning.”
Corstens is under no illusions about the enormity of the task in Sunday’s race. “The Mile looks an exceptional race this year. It’s certainly the toughest race he’s contested and he’ll need all the luck we can get. We’re here with open eyes and under no illusions about how tough it’s going to be but we’re still quietly confident that he’ll run well.”
MOONLIGHT CLOUD (FR)
Worked on the all-weather track.
Regis Barbedette, travelling head lad to trainer Freddy Head, said: “She’s all right. There is not much to do as she worked very well on Monday last week at Chantilly before taking off.”
Luis Garcia Fernandez, travelling head lad, said: “It is my first time here after we travelled Europe in Shamalgan’shorsebox. He travelled all right and seems to be in good shape.”
LONGINES Hong Kong Cup
CIRRUS DES AIGLES (FR)
Exercised on the all-weather and breezed 400m in 27.6s.
Zoe Gargoulaud, exercise rider, said: “He’s keen enough and he always seems to want more when we hit the turf course on our way to the quarantine stables.”
Jean-Jacques Poincelet, assistant trainer to Corine Barande-Barbe, added: “He always wants to go, although I feel that with age he is now able to manage himself. Zoe (Gargoulaud) needs to check him every now and then but that’s all right.”
MILITARY ATTACK (HK)
Worked 1200m (turf) along with Dan Excel in 1m 17.4 s (splits: 27.1, 26.9, 23.4)
Jockey Zac Purton said: “His work has been good. He has progressed from one week to the next and he did a nice little piece of work on the grass this morning. Obviously we didn’t get to the bottom of him, it’s just a case of topping him off for the weekend – he’s done enough. He’s going in third up and he’s a horse that loves his racing and gets better as he gets into his preparation, so for me that’s probably our only concern.”
SIDE GLANCE (GB)
The Andrew Balding-trained contender was again out on the all-weather track with regular rider Leanne Masterson aboard. The consistent six-year-old gelding, who gained his first success at Group 1 level when taking the Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington on his last start, galloped over 1200 metres in 1m 19.9s (splits: 28.3, 27.5, 24.1) and looked very well in doing so.
“He’s in good form,” said a smiling Masterson recalling his Australian triumph, “I am just so happy he won that day, he really deserved it, and it was so special for everyone.”
TOKEI HALO (JPN)
Cantered on the all-weather under his regular work rider Yoshiyuki Miyashita.
Assistant trainer Yoshiyuki Miyashita said: “He is maintaining good form and everything up to now has gone smoothly. The trainer will come out on the track to see his gallop on turf tomorrow morning. Jockey Yutaka Take will take reins.”
Featured image at start of story is courtesy Hong Kong Jockey Club.