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HK opens November trials to overseas runners

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    "…approved the participation of up to four foreign runners in each of the key November trials for the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Races a month later.

    The three prep races concerned are the Cathay Pacific International Cup Trial on 15 November and the Cathay Pacific International Sprint and Mile Trials on 22 November.

    Each of these set weights races carries HKGr.2 status. As such, it will be the first time that non Hong Kong-based horses are not restricted to the six international Gr.1 races on the calendar.

    The total prize-money for each race amounts to HK$3m [GBP 240,000] and declaration fees for overseas runners shall cost the same as for local horses – HK$9,000 [GBP 720].

    ……believe this initiative will help horses not entered in the Breeders’ Cup or the Japan Cup who have our December showpiece as their main goal. It will help them acclimatize to Sha Tin and top off their preparation. It will also give our fans an early insight into these horses’ capabilities before the big day.”

    Scenic Blast, the world’s joint top-ranked sprinter, could be among the first horses to take advantage of the new regulations.

    The Australian-trained winner of the Lightning Stakes in Melbourne and the King’s Stand Stakes is currently in Japan preparing for the Sprinters Stakes and, chasing the Global Sprint Challenge bonus of US$1m, is also being strongly considered for its final leg, the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint.

    ”Using Scenic Blast as an example, there is a gap of more than two months between the Sprinters Stakes and the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint. Opening up the Cathay Pacific International Trials, we feel, gives trainers of horses of this calibre more options when it comes to race planning for the second Sunday in December,” … 222823.htm

    additionally from SCMP:

    ……."We were particularly keen to get Scenic Blast here for a showdown with Sacred Kingdom and our other top sprinters in December……..But the problem for his trainer, Danny Morton, is that the horse is going to run in the Sprinters’ Stakes [in Japan on October 4], which is more than two months before Hong Kong.

    "Now he is required to leave Japan after that race, but returning to England, where he has been since the July Cup, was going to be his only option. He could not return to Australia and then come back here. Not only is going back to England before he comes here a tough ask of a horse, but he would have been going there when the weather is starting to get cold."

    In terms of the horse’s preparation for December, the chance to run over the course and distance three weeks early appealed to Morton. "Seventy days between runs was not going to be an ideal preparation for a race like the Hong Kong Sprint. This way, Scenic Blast gets a suitable race, the fans get to see him run against most of his main opposition for the race in December, and everyone has a better idea of how he lines up on the big day," … 90923c.asp

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    first invites are out:


    The Hong Kong Jockey Club has issued four invitations for the Cathay Pacific International Cup, Sprint and Mile Trials to take place on 15 and 22 November.

    The invitees are:

    Cathay Pacific International Sprint Trial – Scenic Blast, Apache Cat

    Cathay Pacific International Mile Trial – Eagle Mountain

    Cathay Pacific International Mile/Cup Trial – Presvis

    ….Top American turf sprinter Cannonball is also under consideration for the Sprint Trial….The Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita on 7 November is the next scheduled start for Cannonball. After this race, the Club and his trainer, Wesley Ward, will decide on the potential of an invitation to contest the Sprint Trial on 22 November before an intended date in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint.

    … trainer Luca Cumani is making good on his promise to bring back Presvis, his terrific Audemars Piguet QEII Cup hero, for the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup over the same course and distance.

    Presvis is unraced since his fast-finishing second in the Singapore Airlines International Cup at Kranji in May and has been invited to prep for December’s international meet in CX International Cup Trial. Cumani is also considering a possible prep race in the UK for Presvis and is yet to confirm his participation in the Cup Trial.


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    Reported this morning that Greg Eurell will reject the invitation to run Apache Cat in the CX International Sprint Trial in favour of the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) on Saturday week.

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    All systems go hopefully for Eagle Mountain. Shipping has been booked from England and he’ll fly over to HK about a week before the Mile Trial on 22nd ahead of trying to defend last year’s victory in the CX Internatinoal Cup on December 13th.

    He has been given plenty of time to recover from a setback in Dubai in the Spring and this offers him a better alternative than training in Newmarket by himself and having to run on the all-weather at Kempton in late November.

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