Home track advantage proved to be too much to overcome for the international contingent at Sunday's Longines Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin. All four races were swept by horses representing Asia, three of them from Hong Kong.
In the Hong Kong Vase, upsetter Dominant went from last to first to take the 1 1/2 mile event for trainer John Moore. The Irish-bred son of Cacique defeated top-class filly and race favorite, The Fugue, under rider Zac Purton.
In the Hong Kong Sprint, things went as expected with heavily-favored Japanese star Lord Kanaloa putting away the field late, giving him a second consecutive Sprint title and capping a career that saw the five-year-old win 13 of 19. Great Britain's Sole Power finished five lengths back in second. The race was marred by the breakdown of British import, Jwala, who was fatally injured in the home stretch. The filly's rider, Steve Drowne, was hospitalized and reportedly suffered a punctured lung and broken collar bone.
The Hong Kong Mile belonged to Glorious Days, a locally-based son of Hussonet, who pulled away late against a field that included Moonlight Cloud from France and Sky Lantern of Great Britain. American shipper King Kressa, under jockey Mike Smith, was prominent early but the Jeremiah Englehart-trainee faded to 12th.
“It just didn't go for him today,” said Smith. “The further they went the higher he had his head up in the air.”
The Hong Kong Cup capped a memorable day for the local fans as Akeed Mofeed got the best of his rivals, including top-class French competitor Cirrus des Aigles, who claimed third behind Japan's Tokei Halo. Akeed Mofeed's victory gave jockey Douglas Whyte a double, as he was also aboard Glorious Days.
American import Little Mike, ridden by Smith for trainer Dale Romans, looked comfortable down the backstretch in the Cup but went wide off the final turn, failed to sustain a run and finished ninth.
Smith said: “He travelled really well for me I was in a great position and he was good and relaxed. I pulled him out on the turn but he just didn't handle it. He ran really wide and it cost me so much ground. I should have stayed inside but I might not have got a run.”
While the Americans didn't have a banner day, the event exuded high energy from a capacity crowd and showcased the pageantry and class of international racing. The Paulick Report's Scott Jagow was on hand and captured a beautiful day at Sha Tin.
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