A firm Sha Tin track is the biggest concern British trainer William Haggas has for his exciting youngster Dubai Honour in the G1 HK$30 million LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) on Sunday (12 December).
A question mark over the visitor’s ability to cope with fast ground is also shared by Dubai Honour’s jockey Tom Marquand who had success at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (8 December), riding one winner to finish second in a four-way tie in the LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship won by Zac Purton.
Ranked just behind Loves Only You, Dubai Honour’s last four races have all been at 2000m and include a last start narrow second in the G1 Champion Stakes (1993m) at Ascot, two consecutive G2 victories in France and a win at Newmarket in July.
Haggas, who has remained home at Somerville Lodge at Newmarket, said everything had gone smoothly with the three-year-old since arriving in Hong Kong.
“His blood picture is good and we can’t obviously see the horse, apart from on film, but his blood picture is excellent and he apparently is in very good form and he looks happy enough to us,” he said.
“My fear, and I think it’s Tom’s fear, is the ground.
“Although he ran on and won at Newmarket on fast ground in July, he has run his best three races on soft ground.
“I never thought he had to have soft ground but it’s maybe that he does so if that’s the case it would bring a place Australia into place in 2023.
“But we will see. It’s good. We would love to come back here but let’s get Sunday out of the way first.”