The Fugue and Red Cadeaux set for Hong Kong
The Fugue and Red Cadeaux are among 25 international Group One winners entered for Hong Kong's two spring features.
Last Updated: 21/03/14 10:11am
The Fugue could head to the AP QEII Cup on April 27 in a bid to avenge her arguably unlucky second-place finish in December's Hong Kong Vase, while 2012 Vase hero Red Cadeaux is also a possible British raider.
Cirrus Des Aigles is something of a Sha Tin regular and could attempt to better his third-place finish in December's Hong Kong Cup. Meanwhile, Tenno Sho (Autumn) winner Just A Way and Kikuka Sho victor Epiphaneia are among 11 nominated for the AP QEII Cup to represent Japan, successful in the past with Rulership (2012) and Eishin Preston (2002 & 2003).
Australasian stars Boban and It's A Dundeel, first and second in the Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) recently, may aim to increase their impressive career Group One tallies in the renowned contest. They could be joined by Shamus Award, winner of the Cox Plate (2000m) last year as well as the Australian Guineas on 1 March, who like Boban is also nominated for the Champions Mile.
South Africa's Mike de Kock has won the AP QEII Cup twice (2006 Irridescence, 2008 Archipenko) and the trainer could bid for a third win with the hitherto unbeaten Vercingetorix, triumphant in the Jebel Hatta (1800m) at Meydan on March 8 from fellow entrant, Godolphin's Vancouverite.
Last year's winner Military Attack among the 55 nominations for the AP QEII Cup while home competition also includes Hong Kong Cup winner Akeed Mofeed and Designs On Rome, who his trainer John Moore rates as a bona fide international Group One competitor on a par with his former champion Viva Pataca, winner of the AP QEII Cup in 2007 and 2010.
Dan Excel earned just reward for a string of sterling performances with a battling win in last year's Champions Mile and is likely to attempt a repeat in that contest this time. The race was opened to international competition in 2005 and a Hong Kong horse has won every edition, but this year's 55 nominations, 39 of them overseas raiders, suggests that dominance could be under threat.
South Africa has two outstanding Champions Mile entrants in Variety Club and Soft Falling Rain, the latter successful in the 2013 Godolphin Mile in Dubai. The French classic heroine Flotilla is also engaged, as is compatriot Mshawish, winner of the Zabeel Mile at Meydan from British entrant Trade Storm. Also among the nominations are the US raiders Maltes, a Group One winner in Brazil, and Si Sage.
Gordon Lord Byron may attempt to lift the prize for Ireland. The two-time Group One winner has finished fourth in the past two renewals of the Hong Kong Mile, latterly behind the successful Glorious Days.
Glorious Days saw off Gold-Fun to win that prestigious event in December and that Richard Gibson-trained rival, subsequently successful in the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup from Dan Excel, is likely to oppose again.
The pair and the exciting four-year-old Able Friend, winner of the Hong Kong Classic Mile and second in the Hong Kong Derby, represent the pick of what is a classy Hong Kong contingent.
"It's good to see so many exciting horses nominated for this year's renewals of the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup and Champions Mile," said William A. Nader, the Hong Kong Jockey Club's Executive Director of Racing.
"Not only do we have a raft of international Group One stars and our established local champions eyeing up the two lucrative races, we also have the added spice of the very best from what appears to be an outstanding crop of Hong Kong four-year-olds ready to step into the fray and test their mettle.
"The 25 Group One winners nominated and the 47 horses that have placed at G1 level or have won or placed in Pattern races, reflect the broad appeal of our two spring showcases with those horses spanning 10 nations or jurisdictions across five continents and representing the best form lines from both the northern and southern hemispheres."