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2011 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup and Mile

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California Memory wins the 2011 Hong Kong Cup
California Memory wins the 2011 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup

California Memory wins the 2011 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin Racecourse

© Steve Queen
December 11, 2011

The highlight of the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Races is the HK$20 million ($2.6 million U.S.) Hong Kong Cup (G1). Conditions were excellent at Sha Tin Racecourse, with a "good-to-firm" turf course, sunny skies, and temperatures in the lower 60's, with a crowd of 67,153 on hand. A field of 10 older horses faced the starter in this 2000 meter (1 1/4 mile) event, with Ambitious Dragon sent off as the 11-10 favorite, exiting a close second in the Jockey Club Mile (G2) after winning the National Day Cup. In to challenge him included 5-2 second choice Cirrus des Aigles, winner of the QIPCO Champion Stakes (G1) at Ascot last out, and 7-2 third choice California Memory off his close 4th place finish in the Jockey Club Cup, the major local prep for this race.

Pure Champion set easy fractions of 27.38, 53.35, 1:18.47, and 1:42.64 while pressed by Zazou and California Memory. At the top of the stretch, Zazou moved up to challenge along the rail while Ambitious Dragon closed on the outside. The pair dueled briefly but California Memory came through between them to win by a 1ength over Irian in a time of 2:04.57. It was another 1/4 length back to Zazou, while favorite Ambitious Dragon faded late to finish a head back in fourth.

Results chart from HKJC with video replay

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