Hong Kong racing fans will be familiar with several of the main contenders in two US$6 million Group 1 turf races at Meydan’s Dubai World Cup meeting on Saturday.
Neorealism won the 2017 Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin last year and is slated to make his seasonal debut in the Dubai Turf (1800m),while 2016 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase winner Satono Crown does the same in the Dubai Sheema Classic (2410m).
The two Noriyuki Hori-trained gallopers are entered for the upcoming AP QEII Cup on 29 April at Sha Tin. Both horses will be ridden in Dubai by Hong Kong’s Champion Jockey Joao Moreira, who was aboard for each of their Sha Tin successes.
“Neorealism is better at 1800m,” Hori said at Meydan on Tuesday. “I’ve learned a lot from my past experiences in Dubai, all of which I will be using this weekend.”
Hori has so far failed to mirror his Hong Kong successes in Dubai, with Duramente’s second in the 2016 Dubai Sheema Classic his best result from three starters.
“All has gone as planned,” Hori reported. “Their gallops and times were what I wanted. The turf here feels quite similar to a yielding course in Japan.”
Neorealism, drawn in barrier two, also holds a Champions Mile entry, and was third in the LONGINES Hong Kong Cup last December in his most recent start, nearly four lengths behind Time Warp. The son of Neo Universe was a winner on his seasonal debut a year ago over 1800m when landing the G2 Nakayama Kinen, two lengths ahead of fifth-placed Vivlos, who went on to win the 2017 edition of the Dubai Turf with Moreira aboard.
Cristian Demuro now rides that Yasuo Tomomichi-trained mare, who is back to defend her title in the race which includes five Japanese participants in total, three of which are entered for Hong Kong’s spring Group 1 races. The others include 2016 Dubai Turf winner Real Steel (AP QEII Cup, Champions Mile) and front-running Crocosmia (AP QEII Cup, Champions Mile), who makes her overseas debut.
South African trainer Mike de Kock prepared Variety Club to a Champions Mile success in 2014, the first overseas winner of the race, and could return for a shot at that Sha Tin feature if things go well with Janoobi, drawn in gate six.
In four starts during this year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival, Janoobi has recorded a win, a second and a third, all at increasing distances from 1200m to 1800m. His lone win came in the G2 Zabeel Mile.
“He’s had a great Carnival and what he lacks in class he makes up in heart,” said de Kock. “He is an unbelievably tough horse and I’ve had types like him here before who might not be the best winning chance but ran great races for second or third. 1800 metres might be too far but we don’t have many options, which is why we have entered him for the Champions Mile in Hong Kong.”
Aidan O’Brien trainee Lancaster Bomber is drawn 12 with Ryan Moore aboard and holds a Champions Mile nomination. The white-faced son of War Front could return to Hong Kong in April following a fifth in the LONGINES Hong Kong Mile, three and a quarter lengths behind Beauty Generation, the best result of the overseas challengers in the race. Stablemate War Decree, 10th in the LONGINES Hong Kong Cup, has drawn barrier 10.
Godolphin’s Blair House, winner of the G1 Jebel Hatta last time out, has a Champions Mile entry and is drawn in barrier 15 while AP QEII Cup entrant Trais Fluors will jump from four for trainer Andre Fabre.