NOTE: Santa Ana Lane, Eminent and Enzo’s Lad worked at 4.15 am (before the local horses and other international horses) under quarantine protocols set for horses arriving from Australia.
FWD QEII Cup
DARK DREAM – HK
With some possibility of rain on Sunday, trainer Frankie Lor said: “It looks like he’s a good horse on the soft. If it does rain it will help him but last time he won on the fast track, so I’m not worried.”
DEIRDRE – JPN
Galloped 800m of the turf track and clocked 46.5s (25.6, 20.9) under Yutaka Take.
Trainer Mitsuru Hashida said: “She was initially a bit nervous with the hot weather and humidity when she flew in, but she has settled into it. I asked Take to drive her stronger towards the end of the gallop. She moved very nicely and finished her gallop with very good speed. She’s in good condition. Stretching out to 2000m will be to her advantage. She has already collected silver and bronze medals, so hopefully she can grab the gold one this time.”
Jockey Yutaka Take said: “It was my first ride on Deirdre this morning. She is really easy to ride, she has settled in well and is in good condition. She moved nicely and had a solid, fast workout and I am looking forward to racing on Sunday. She really likes travelling, she is a proven shipper and has not had any travel sickness from Dubai. Since the field is very strong, including the high-class Japanese runners, to win the race she needs to step up on what she’s done before. The 2000 metres should be more suitable for her compared to 1800 metres.”
EAGLE WAY – HK
Trainer John Moore said: “He went one and a half laps on the small track with a riding boy who is very light and he seemed very well in himself.”
EMINENT – GB
Part-owner Hubie De Burgh said: “Sir Mark (Todd) reports he has settled in really well. He had an easy canter on the all-weather track this morning and looking at the vision, of the horse, on the big screen he looks absolutely amazing. We look forward to the battle on Sunday.”
LYS GRACIEUX – JPN
Worked on the turf and clocked 48s (26.6, 21.4) for 800m.
Trainer Yoshito Yahagi said: “I asked the rider to keep her in a rhythm and comfortable while she was working today. This second time trip to Hong Kong has been the biggest factor for her, I was a bit worried about the journey from Japan by herself but she travelled over well and has settled into the surroundings here quickly. Just after she ran second in the Hong Kong Vase last December, we decided to bring her again for this race so this has been the plan. I think the 2000 metres is more suitable for her than 2400 metres. She raced from the back in the Vase but this time a more forward position would be better. She will be very competitive.”
WAIKUKU – HK
BMW Hong Kong Derby runner-up and seventh to Dark Dream in a Class 1 at the course and distance last time.
Trainer John Size said: “His last start, I think he covered a bit of ground, he was caught wide at some stages in a pretty fast-run-race, there was good speed on, and the track was rather quick. I think he found it a little bit tough, he wasn’t able to keep running at that tempo.
“Since then there has been some changes, the track won’t be so fast, the speed of the race probably won’t be so quick, he might even draw a gate for a change, all those things could help him earn some prizemoney in the race.
“He’s a little bit disadvantaged as far as ratings are concerned: the Group 1 international winners are far superior to him on paper but our four-year-olds have always acquitted themselves well in this event, so probably because they’re coming off a Derby preparation they have that background and they’re racing at home, so they have some good advantages that way, so hopefully the home team runs well.”
WIN BRIGHT – JPN
Galloped on the turf and clocked 1m 16.5s (28.5, 26.3, 21.7) for 1200m.
Jockey Masami Matsuoka said: “He has not done too much during the export quarantine period since he left Japan, so I took him for a steady gallop today. My only concern was to keep his rhythm during the work and he moved nicely. It was good work today.”
FWD Champions Mile
BEAUTY GENERATION – HK
Trainer John Moore said: “This morning he went around on the big track, just one and a half laps at a nice, open canter. I put him on the big track because the small track can get busy and I don’t want to risk him getting caught up in a traffic jam. He did it very nicely.”
ROMANTIC TOUCH – HK
Jockey Matthew Chadwick said: “He’s coming up against Beauty Generation and a few other horses going through the grades nicely. He tries his heart out, he’s a genuine horse, and he’s shown that he can match up to some of the best on his day with the right run. Just get the best run and see if we can pick up some prize money.”
CHAIRMAN’S SPRINT PRIZE
BEAT THE CLOCK – HK
Trainer John Size said: “He’s fine and he seems very strong at the end of the season. He’s got to the correct age to be a good competitor, his international (Hong Kong Sprint) run was his second run back from a spell and he’s done well since then. He’s going to go into the race in very good condition and it’s a pretty strong race.”
ENZO’S LAD – NZ
The Michael Pitman-trained New Zealand visitor cantered on the all-weather track.
Hong Kong Jockey Club consultant Mark Player said: “It was his first time on to the track since arriving on Sunday and Brittany (Moore) who rode him told me he was bright and well and feeling good in himself.”
NAC VENUS – JPN
Worked on the turf and clocked 54.6s (30.6, 24.0) through 800m under his exercise rider Hirokimi Tamogi.
Tamogi said: “I did not ask her too much this morning because I wanted to save her energy. It was an unfamiliar track for her, which made her a bit eager to grab hold of the track. But she felt good today. She is in good form and has been the same as how she is at home.”
SANTA ANA LANE – AUS
Cantered one lap of the all-weather track under regular rider Will Stewart.
Hong Kong Jockey Club consultant Mark Player said: “Will told me the horse felt great and seems to have come through the flight in very good order.”
VIDDORA – AUS
Cantered on the all-weather track under big-race jockey Joe Bowditch.
Trainer Lloyd Kennewell said: “She’s well. It’s good to be here and to have a horse good enough to compete on this stage. She’s been on tour, coming from Dubai, and settled in really well. We’re lucky she handles all sort of conditions and she’s pretty good. She’s been all around Australia and done it pretty comfortably and she likes spending one on one time and she’s had Paddy Bell looking after her here.
“I think her form is pretty good. Her run the other night in Dubai was terrific. It was a top class race. Blue Point is obviously one of the best sprinters in the world and the Americans, who ran second and third, are always hard to beat there. She beat the rest quite comfortably and she’s better around the turn and on a firmer track.
“Santa Ana Lane? We have beaten him in a Group 1 so that’s one good thing we have up our sleeve. He’s gone to another level that horse, of course, and if he’s travelled well and settled in well, and races to where he’s up to at the moment he’s going to be hard to beat. We’re confident about our mare and what she can do and we’re looking forward to getting out there on Sunday. We intend to give her a gallop tomorrow morning.”