The final big event on the international horse racing calendar is the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Races. The four Group 1 events will be contested over the right-handed turf course at Sha Tin on Sunday afternoon (late Saturday night/early Sunday morning in America), all of which are under weight-for-age conditions. North American racing fans can watch the races on HRTV in the U.S., HPI-TV in Canada, and at selected simulcast locations with the first race of the 10 race card going off at 12:25PM (Saturday 11:25PM ET). Racing conditions should be ideal with clear skies and a forecasted high of around 70 degrees.
The Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase (G1) will kick off the day's stakes action at 2:00PM (1:00AM ET.) The race drew 13 entrants and will be run over the classic distance of 2400 meters (about 1 1/2 miles). Last year's winner Doctor Dino is back and will face Breeders' Cup Marathon winner Muhannak. Jockey Olivier Peslier was happy with drawing post 12 for Doctor Dino. He said, "I'm less concerned. I think the pace will be slow, as there is no obvious frontrunner, and it may be a help to be drawn on the outside. Anyway number 12 is my lucky number. I'm also not too worried that he didn't run so well last time in Canada (Canadian International at Woodbine) When he was younger, he disappointed at Vichy and it was in a much lower class race than this."
The Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint (G1) is the next race at a distance of 1200 meters (about 6 furlongs) around one turn, and a field of 13 goes to post at 2:40PM local time (1:40AM ET). This race is headed by Australian multiple Group 1 winner Apache Cat and French multiple Group 1 winner Marchand d'Or. Marchand d'Or's trainer Freddy Head said of post 4, "That is a good draw. I am not worried about the bend and the ground should not be too fast.". Paul Radford, managing owner of Apache Cat said of post 2, "Maybe three or four would have been even better as he does like some room but trust me I am delighted with barrier two."
The Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile (G1) drew a full field of 14 and will run at 3:50PM (2:50AM ET.) Here last year's winner Good Ba Ba will go against top American miler Kip Deville. Good Ba Ba's trainer Andreas Schutz said of post 7, "It's a similar middle gate as when he won last year so he should get a sweet run."
The highlight race of the day is the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup (G1), a 2000-meter (about 1 1/4 mile) trip around two turns, where a full field of 14 will go to post at 4:30PM local time (3:30AM ET). Local hero Viva Pataca, second in the race last year to Ramonti, will face British invader Eagle Mountain who was second in the Breeders' Cup Turf last out. Eagle Mountain's trainer Mike de Kock said of post 5, "Happy with that, it's a good slot, but he's a versatile horse anyway. He's as fit as a fiddle and as good as I've ever had him." Viva Pataca drew the 6 post. Trainer John Moore said, "It's an ideal gate which leaves lots of options for Darren (Beadman, jockey). We've got the favorite (Eagle Mountain) drawn inside us, which is also a plus. I've never had him better, third time lucky, I hope."
The draw had an interesting format, a bit different from last year. Each entrant had a representative on stage in the huge covered paddock at Sha Tin. The first representative to select was drawn at random by a Hong Kong Jockey Club representative. That person then picked a "boarding pass" from the Cathay Pacific check-in kiosk which had a random post position number hidden on it. The cover was peeled back to reveal that horse's post position, then the horse's representative delected a card from the airplane engine which revealed the next horse to select a post.
Below are all the entries with post positions and race numbers. You can get a free form guide here in PDF format. These are not traditional North American type past performances, but you should be able to understand them pretty well. Other info like past winners is also provided here. Click the race numbers below for a race card with trainers, jockeys, weights, and the silks of each horse.
|Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup|
|6||OUT OF CONTROL||USA||14|
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile
|1||GOOD BA BA||HK||7|
|6||SPIRITO DEL VENTO||FR||9|
|13||JOY AND FUN||HK||14|
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint