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It’s considered the Grand Finals of International Horse Racing for the 2017 calendar and come December 10, the best from across the world will descend to Sha Tin for the Longines Hong Kong International Raceday, with the four features, the Sprint, Vase, Cup and Mile, headlining a stunning card.

The lead ups were run and won on November 19, with several big names leaving their mark and making a statement as the contenders were sorted out from the pretenders. Here is my take on the key lead ups.

Bochk Wealth Management Jockey Club Sprint 1200m:

Won brilliantly by Mr Stunning and that is why he is the favourite to take out the International Sprint. But as you can see in the replay down below, there was a clear hard luck story in the shape of Lucky Bubbles. Does he win? Who knows, but I’d suggest given the way he looked to travel in the run, I think he would have gone close. Big ticks to Amazing Kids, D B Pin and Thewizardofoz. But I think the two to follow out of this race heading into the big one are Mr Stunning and Lucky Bubbles.

Bochk Jockey Club Cup 2000m:

Well I think all eyes just have to be on Werther. There was improvement to come condition/fitness wise, and in the run he had to chase the tearaway leader Harbour Master, but he did it without the drag up and was dominant on the line, stamping himself as the one to beat in the Cup. Time Warp was gutsy but there is more upside with Werther. The x factor is the Japanese horse Neorealism but how well he is going after his flop in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) is unknown. I think it’s Werther’s race to lose. Also want to make mention of Gold Mount in fourth. His run was a beauty and he is right in the game for the Vase.

Bochk Jockey Club Mile

Ripping win from Seasons Bloom in this race under Moreira. Trucked up nicely, peeled at the right time and wore down a star in Helene Paragon. The extra fitness just told late and personally, I think Helene Paragon is much better when chasing rather than being the chased. Beauty Generation had the suck run near the speed and rightfully ran well while Beauty Only, who on the International Mile last year, was really warming to the task late. He looks primed to defend his crown. Satono Aladdin from Japan could be the improver back on top of the ground after two failures on soft tracks.

Longines Hong Kong Vase Lead Ups:

There are three replays I want to show you. Firstly is the replay of the Japanese St Leger, won by Kiseki, who is the favourite for the Vase. This was an absolute slog run in atrocious conditions but he loved it and look at the way he charged to the line. He looks world class and could feature on the world stage big time next year. The next one is the Breeders Cup Turf, won by Talismanic. Outstanding win, great ride too, beating the champ Highland Reel. Highland Reel is the proven warrior at Sha Tin and this may well be his farewell to racing. Has he got one final surge left in him? The third and final replay is the Melbourne Cup, which features Tiberian and Max Dynamite. Both horses were ridden a treat by Glyn Schofield and Zac Purton respectively. Both tried their guts out but were no match for the Lloyd Williams pair. I think the negative for Max Dynamite supporters is that Purton has chosen Gold Mountm who ran a cracker in the Jockey Club Cup.


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