Champions Mile Thursday (1 May) tracknotes
Dan Excel stretched out over 800m on turf this morning as trainer John Moore put the final touches to last year’s winner, while the other notable action this morning came from Variety Club. The South African champion pleased connections with his work on the turf.
Meanwhile, this morning’s barrier allocation means that while the connections of overseas contenders Variety Club and Gordon Lord Byron might be lamenting drawing 12 and 13 respectively in Sunday’sChampions Mile it was local favourite Able Friend who fared worst of all with the outside stall 14.
GORDON LORD BYRON – IRE
Cantered on the all-weather track
Tom Hogan’s assistant Eddie Power said: “He’s coping with everything pretty well and we just have to keep him ticking over until Sunday.
“He looks well. He’s weighed in about the same weight level as he was when he ran here last year,” Power rsaid in reference to the 2013 LONGINES G1 Hong Kong Mile in which he finished fourth.
“We’ll see what Tom (Hogan) thinks about drawing 12 and we do have the top local jockey in Zac Purton, so that can only help.”
VARIETY CLUB – SAF
Galloped on the turf in 50.9s (28.3, 22.6) under big-race jockey Anton Marcus
Trevor Brown, assistant to trainer Mike de Kock, conceded his team would have some thinking to do after the five-year-old drew 12: “We’ll see about that,” he said when asked if his charge would attempt to lead. “It’s Hong Kong and they don’t generally just hand you the lead here. He generally goes forward but he has been ridden off the pace and won at home in South Africa. We’ll have a think about what we might do.”
MSHAWISH – FR
Light canter on the all-weather track
MEINER LACRIMA – JPN
Remained in the quarantine area trotting ring
ABLE FRIEND – HK
Cantered on the small all-weather track
Trainer John Moore said: “I’d have liked perhaps to have drawn six to eight but we’ll deal with it. There’s a lot of country down the back with the good run from the mile start and if he can slot in three wide with cover that would be alright.”
BLAZING SPEED – HK
Galloped 800m on the all-weather track under Alvin Ng in 58.8s (31.2, 27.6)
Trainer Tony Cruz said: “Blazing Speed’s in tip-top shape. He was very good in the barrier trial and pulled up very clean. I’m happy with him going into this and I’ve entered him for the Yasuda Kinen in Japan after this. He’s looking more like a miler, to me.”
CALIFORNIA MEMORY – HK
Galloped 800m on the all-weather track under Matthew Chadwick in 57.6s (30.9, 26.7)
Trainer Tony Cruz said: “California has come back very good from his injury and we’ll see how he pulls up from today’s work. Obviously, the mile is a little too short for him but it’s a good lead-up to the Champions & Chater, which he won last year.”
DAN EXCEL – HK
Galloped 800m on the turf under Tommy Berry in 51.2s (26.4, 24.8)
Trainer John Moore’s reaction to drawing gate 7: “That’s OK. He’ll go forward. He could lead if necessary but ideally you’d like to see him with a sit on the speed.”
Dan Excel raced on the speed to win the race from gate one last year.
GLORIOUS DAYS – HK
Trainer John Size said of December’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile winner: “He was a little disappointing last start (seventh in HKG1 Stewards’ Cup [1600m] in January) and I think he needed a rest – he doesn’t want to race too often. He looks well this week.
“The race in December might have been a personal best, it was an outstanding run, but that might be the best run of his life. He has to do it again and it’s not easy for horses to do it again, but at least we know it can be done and hopefully he can reproduce. As long as he runs well and runs near his best he has a chance.”
ZAIDAN – HK
Galloped 800m on the all-weather track in 57.5s (29.1, 28.4)
Trainer Tony Cruz said: “I don’t think Zaidan’s up to winning this but I hope he can run well. He likes a soft track and if I can I’d like to run him in the Macau Hong Kong Trophy – that would be his kind of race.”
Barrier draw results for the Champions Mile:
#1 – Glorious Days – K. Teetan (Barrier 8)
#2 – Variety Club – A. Marcus (Barrier 12)
#3 – California Memory – M. Chadwick (Barrier 10)
#4 – Gold-Fun – D. Whyte (Barrier 2)
#5 – Blazing Speed – N. Callan (Barrier 1)
#6 – Dan Excel – T. Berry (Barrier 7)
#7 – Gordon Lord Byron – Z. Purton (Barrier 13)
#8 – Able Friend – J. Moreira (Barrier 14)
#9 – Helene Spirit – A. Suborics (Barrier 4)
#10 – Mshawish – U. Rispoli (Barrier 6)
#11 – Real Specialist – O. Doleuze (Barrier 3)
#12 – Zaidan – B. Prebble (Barrier 9)
#13 – Meiner Lacrima – D. Shibata (Barrier 5)
#14 – Flame Hero – H. Bowman (Barrier 11)