Hong Kong Mile preview

3 min read

By Alan Carasso

The Pick

A Group 3 winner at a mile and narrowly second in the G1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) over 2000m, Persian Knight (Jpn) (Harbinger {GB}) came from well back in the field to become the rare 3-year-old to defeat older horses in the G1 Mile Championship at Kyoto last November.

A troubled second back over the metric mile and a quarter in the G1 Osaka Hai in April, the strapping dark bay was only sixth to Mozu Ascot (Frankel {GB}) in the G1 Yasuda Kinen in June, but pulled very hard that day and was blocked for a run at the 400m while the winner weaved his way through. He exits a head defeat at the hands of 3-year-old colt Stelvio (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}) in this year’s Mile Championship, but again failed to get a clear shot late and looked to have been hampered by the eventual winner in the waning strides.

Though the Mile has been the domain of Hong Kong-based runners by and large over the last 20 years, the three Japanese horses to have left with the trophy during that period - Eishin Preston (Green Dancer, 2001), Hat Trick (Jpn) (Sunday Silence, 2005) and Maurice (Jpn) (Screen Hero {Jpn}, 2015) - all prepped in the Kyoto feature. He’s got gate 12 and it isn’t as if there is a large margin of error, but there is no doubt, you have to beat him to cash.

Mozu Ascot snapped a streak of luckless runs with his narrow victory in the Yasuda Kinen and just failed in his return to the races in the 1400-meter G2 Swan S. Oct. 27. The 12-5 favourite in the Mile Championship, he never truly looked happy in the run and endured some traffic in the upper stretch to boot before finishing 13th of 18, albeit beaten just fourth lengths. He should get the right run from gate two beneath Christophe Lemaire and the price should be right on a horse who should be flying late.

The Roughies

Southern Legend (Aus) (Not a Single Doubt {Aus}) handed Nothingilikemore (Aus) (Husson {Arg}) his first career defeat in a Class 1 handicap on this program last season and caused an upset in a similar spot in March. Third to Beauty Generation in the Champions Mile, he overwhelmed the field in the Kranji Mile in Singapore and exits a runner-up effort to Beauty Generation in the G2 Jockey Club Mile. He could give a good account of himself.

One Master (GB) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) upset the G1 Prix de la Foret on Arc day and was a sneaky good fifth in the GI Breeders’ Cup Mile last time when she was forced to race for a good part of the race on the most demanding part of a tough track.

The Selections

Beauty Generation, Southern Legend, One Master