It would be hard to ask for more from a G3 handicap than this Sunday’s (27 January) Centenary Vase (1800m).
How about three different G1 winners including two fresh from thrilling LONGINES Hong Kong International Races successes? No problem.
Two bold front-running siblings set to trade powerful blows in round four of a bruising brotherly battle? Check.
One high-class stayer who turned away travelling stars from Japan, Britain, Ireland and France to give the home team a famous G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase victory? He’s there with Zac Purton aboard.
And a John Size duo comprising last year’s winner and a bang-in-form gelding carrying a feather weight with Joao Moreira up? Yes and yes again.
The stakes are high for a HK$3.25 million showdown and Frankie Lor knows tactics could play a huge role as his pillar-to-post LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) hero Glorious Forever goes up against older brother Time Warp for the fourth time in 12 weeks.
“I don’t want a head to head,” sums up Lor’s approach to the early stages, a conviction which harks back to a punishing early duel in the Jockey Club Cup which saw Glorious Forever win the battle with Time Warp only to lose the war as Eagle Way and Exultant swept by.
The form book shows that each of Time Warp’s six Hong Kong wins have been gained in all-the-way fashion, while Glorious Forever has gained three of his four wins from the front and dominated throughout (with Time Warp back in third) when capturing his first G1 success under Silvestre de Sousa in last month’s Hong Kong Cup.
However, Lor takes confidence from the fact that Glorious Forever came from just off the pace when seizing Time Warp’s 2000m track record last July and is happy for de Sousa to adopt slightly more patient tactics again if the early pace is fiery.
“If they both try to go to the front they are finished but if we can’t get to the front early on then second is ok,” he added. “Glorious Forever’s form is good. His last trial was also strong and to me it looks like he is still improving.”
Purton bids to pounce on Exultant