Horse Racing
Saturday (28/4) track notes ahead of Champions Day at Sha Tin this Sunday, 29 April

28/04/2018 12:47

Australian rider Kerrin McEvoy, who was booked to ride Pakistan Star (Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup) and Southern Legend (Champions Mile) among nine rides at Sha Tin, was stood down from riding at Hawkesbury, in Australia, on Saturday and will not fly to Hong Kong to take up his engagements.

McEvoy said: “I’m so disappointed and sorry to have let people down. I’ve never had an ear infection before and the timing could not have been worse. I spoke to the course doctor at Hawkesbury and other GPs (general practitioners) and they advised against flying with this ear problem. I’ve contacted the Hong Kong Jockey Club and advised them that I cannot make it. I’ll certainly be watching with interest. I’d done all the form on my nine rides there and would love to have ridden Southern Legend and Pakistan Star. It’s very disappointing.”

Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup

Completed two laps of the Sha Tin all-weather track as owner Katsumi Yoshida watched on. Played up slightly.
Yoshida said: “Both horses are definitely suited to Hong Kong. This is my first time in Hong Kong for the races since Maurice won the Hong Kong Cup in 2016. I was also here for Rulership’s QEII Cup, so I’ve been very lucky when I have come to the track here; hopefully, that continues.”

Trainer Yasutoshi Ikee said: “He bucked and pigrooted a bit when he was on the track this morning, but he accomplished the amount of work he needed to today. He is in peak condition physically. In regards to Al Ain’s mental condition, I really have to credit Danburite’s stable staff for their support this week. They have worked in with us, giving us plenty of consideration, and I’m very appreciative.

“Al Ain is a very clever horse, and sometimes clever horses show that sort of behaviour. For us, we have to be able to expect and anticipate the things that the horse will do and we also have to be able to handle it. We were planning to come across to Hong Kong for the Vase over 2400m in December, but we called it off after he struggled following his tough run in the G1 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger). When we put him out to spell, though, we already decided his programme for the first half of this year would be the G2 Kyoto Kinen, G1 Osaka Hai and the APQEII Cup. He goes into the race a fit horse. For me, as an assistant trainer to my father, I won the Hong Kong Vase with Stay Gold, but as a trainer, I really want to take a first G1 triumph in Hong Kong.”

Took to the Sha Tin all-weather track for an easy lap, just to stretch the legs, with owner Katsumi Yoshida in attendance.
Yoshida said: “It would mean a lot to have Danburite win the QEII Cup, given he is a son of Rulership. He looks well.”

Went out in one of trainer Tony Cruz’s mass strings, cantering around the small all-weather track.
Original rider Kerrin McEvoy was stood down from riding at Hawkesbury, in Australia, on Saturday and will not fly to Hong Kong to take up his engagements.

Champions Mile

Cantered one lap of the Sha Tin small all-weather track.
Trainer Danny Shum said: “This is his target for the rest of the season. As a trainer, you love to travel horses if it’s the right horse and I have travelled horses before – Little Bridge obviously gave me a big thrill when he won at Royal Ascot. But I don’t think this horse is the right horse, he didn’t travel well when he came up here and I’d be hesitant to travel. So everything is primed for tomorrow’s race.”

Took to the Sha Tin small all-weather track for two laps at a canter.
Original rider Kerrin McEvoy was stood down from riding at Hawkesbury, in Australia, on Saturday and will not fly to Hong Kong to take up his engagements.

Completed one lap of the small all-weather track at Sha Tin under trainer John Size’s assistant Pierre Ng.
Size said: “He trialled on Tuesday and he seemed to trial quite well. He normally trials well before he races and he did so. He probably needs a race where there is a bit of speed on, he demonstrated that last start. The overall time was very quick and it suited the quinella horses, Beauty Only and Western Express.

On the similarities between Western Express and last year’s Champions Mile winner, the Size-trained Contentment: “They are both underneath the top-rated horses but Contentment managed to win two Group 1s in Hong Kong. Western Express is yet to do that but he ran second in the Hong Kong Mile in December so hopefully he can grab one in the future.”

Chairman’s Sprint Prize

Took to the small all-weather track for a canter.
Trainer John Size said: “He had three months away from the racetrack earlier this year, but he came back and won carrying a big weight. The return run was quite sound, winning that day in March. Then I think we should forget his last run. He got caught a bit wide in a race that was not run to suit him in any way, he doesn’t have an answer to a slowly-run race, it just doesn’t suit him. I think after they straightened and he got under a bit of pressure, he probably thought he would wait for another day. So I wouldn’t be surprised if he ran well here.”

Cantered a lap of the dirt track under regular work rider Giuseppe Bussu.
Sophie Chretien, assistant to trainer Charlie Appleby: “Charlie is very happy with him, everything has been right all week. I think William [Buick, big-race jockey] is due to arrive this afternoon, from what Mr Appleby has told me. Regarding race plans, I think Mr Appleby will speak to William tomorrow. So far so good, we’re happy with the draw and we’ve been very happy all week with the horse. It’s just a case of fingers crossed. Compared to other horses I’ve brought over here he’s been very easy, I wish they would all be like him! It would be a dream. He’s been enjoying himself which makes it easier. I think it is the plan to go to Royal Ascot for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes after this.”

Warmed up in the trotting ring before cantering on the all-weather track.
Trainer Yoshitada Takahashi said: “The rider confirmed he was rounding the track well. He moved comfortably and he was relaxed during his work this morning. He is very fit and ready.”