Hong Kong Diary

We’ve got all the latest news from Hong Kong ahead of Wednesday’s card at Happy Valley which gets underway at 12.15pm live on Sky Sports Racing.

  • Tuesday 20 October
  • Blog
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Sixty comes out swinging again

Golden Sixty is still improving - and the gains aren't marginal.

That's the only conclusion to be drawn from Sunday's Sha Tin Trophy - where Francis Lui's gelding settled matters swiftly again under Vincent Ho on his G2 debut - and his HK rating is now up to 127 from 120.

A slow early pace suited those who can sprint and Golden Sixty has long been a poster boy in that department. A rapid third quarter of 22.5s was followed by a fiery 21.81s closer and there can't be much doubt that the five-year-old is capable of better yet.

Don't expect anything better than 1.2 or shorter when he goes for the Jockey Club Mile with no penalty next month. That looks a perfect springboard to his G1 debut in the Longines Hong Kong Mile in December and it will be fascinating to see which international raiders take him on there.

Beauty pales in new star's shadow

But what next for Beauty Generation after his subdued sixth on Sunday?

David Hayes tried to put on a brave face but the dual Horse of the Year looked nothing like the force of old. Local reports suggest that Beauty Generation will bypass the Jockey Club Mile with Hayes hoping he can relight the fire for December.

The blinkers that BG wore for so many of his big wins will probably be back there - but they'll need to have a dramatic effect if the old champ is to make it third time lucky against the new star of HK racing.

Big two blown out as Karis hits three

Punters who base most of their betting on HK's big two riders took a hiding on Sunday, with Joao Moreira and Zac Purton winless from a combined 18 rides.

Moreira has just one winner from his last 18 mounts, while Purton's dry spell is now up to 23, and Karis Teetan is now level with the Aussie on 16 winners after completing a Sunday treble aboard Douglas Whyte's smart AW sprinter Will Power.

Teetan has become well used to a rear view of Golden Sixty and summed up the thoughts of many fellow riders as he described finishing third behind the rising star aboard Southern Legend. "I was moving up and then I saw this big motor come past me," he said. " I thought 'Come on, Vincent.' He breaks your heart!"

Karis Teetan
Karis Teetan hit a hat-trick at Sha Tin on Sunday.

Euro stars set to join private jet set

Christophe Soumillon
Christophe Soumillon could be heading to Hong Kong in December.

Teetan fought off a stellar field to win the International Jockeys' Championship at Happy Valley last December and may well meet some of those rivals again this year after it emerged that the HKJC is offering to hire a private jet to fly elite European riders into HK.

A special application to government has been submitted in the hope of reducing the usual Covid quarantine period from two weeks to one and Ryan Moore and Christophe Soumillon are among the names being targeted.

CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, speaking to the South China Morning Post's Tom Biddington, said: "We have made a case for international athletes to get this exemption. We are cautiously optimistic because we think we have made a strong case."

Everest winner aiming to scale global heights

If timing is everything then Classique Legend's planned arrival in HK could be highly opportune.

The local sprint division has been depleted by retirements and setbacks to various members of the elite and Wishful Thinker muddied the waters further by causing a 44-1 boilover in Sunday's G2 Premier Bowl.

Meanwhile, Classique Legend ran clean away from most of Australia's best sprinters in Saturday's Everest at Randwick, collecting over £3.5m in the process, and owner Bon Ho is sending him to join Caspar Fownes with a view to aiming at the Longines Hong Kong Sprint in December and several of the world's top sprints in 2021.

Hong Kong Diary
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