Highland Reel draws stall eight for farewell appearance in Hong Kong

    Aidan O'Brien's team suffered mixed fortunes in the draw for Sunday's Longines Hong Kong International races at Sha Tin.
  • Thursday 07 December 2017
  • News

Aidan O'Brien's team suffered mixed fortunes in the draw for Sunday's Longines Hong Kong International races at Sha Tin.

Highland Reel is set to contest the 12-furlong Vase and he will start from stall eight in what will be his final outing before retiring to stud.

The five-year-old won the race in 2015, when he started from stall nine, and O'Brien's representative Pat Keating told www.hkjc.com: "I'd have preferred Highland Reel to be four to six but eight's OK."

Breeders' Cup Turf hero Talismanic will be in stall one, but having won from the same draw in America, connections of the Andre Fabre-trained runner were not too perturbed.

Representing owners Godolphin, Lisa-Jane Graffard said: "He'll have to take advantage of the draw but he is a very adaptable horse and very easy to place in his races.

"Andre Fabre arrives on Friday and once he has had a look at the horse, he will decide tactics with Maxime Guyon."

Willie Mullins' Max Dynamite will be in stall two, while Danehill Kodiac will be in 10 for Richard Hannon. The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Smart Call is next to him in 11 and Ralph Beckett's Chemical Charge will start from stall four.

While Keating was satisfied with Highland Reel's post position, he described as "disappointing" the draws for Mile contenders Lancaster Bomber and Roly Poly in 11 and 14 respectively.

David Simcock's Lightning Spear will be in stall one for that race.

Keating was happier with the fortunes of Deauville and War Decree, who will be in stalls two and seven for the Hong Kong Cup.

He said: "The Cup draws are fine for Deauville and War Decree."

The Stoute-trained Poet's Word is drawn widest of the 12 runners in the Cup, but Harry Dunlop was pleased to see Robin Of Navan housed in four.

He said: "That's a huge relief, it's a good draw and I'm next to the favourite (Werther)."

Andrew Balding was satisfied with 10 for Blond Me, saying: "That will suit her. I'd much rather that than drawing low."

French sprinter Signs Of Blessing provides European interest in the Sprint and will start from stall five, although he has been the subject of a late health scare.

Trainer Francois Rohaut watched his charge in a spin on the all-weather track on Thursday, and said: "He was moving and breathing well this morning.

"He suffered slightly from the stress of travelling and arrived with a slightly elevated temperature but he is fine now."

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