Hong Kong Vase preview

3 min read

The Pick

The Vase has been a race dominated down the years by European-based gallopers, with only the John Moore-conditioned Dominant (Ire) (Cacique {Ire}) putting one on the board for the locals in 2013. The current crop of stayers in Hong Kong is as strong as it has been in quite some time, and we are giving a slight edge to Exultant (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) to bring home the spoils. A two-time winner and third to Churchill (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and future G1 Dubai World Cup hero Thunder Snow (Ire) (Helmet {Aus}) in the 2017 G1 Irish 2000 Guineas while trained by Mick Halford as Irishcorrespondent.

Exultant was runner-up in the 2018 Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) and third as the favourite in the Hong Kong Derby (2000m) while appearing to want more real estate. A six-length winner of G3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup H., he was second to ‘TDN Rising Star’ Pakistan Star (Ger) (Shamardal) in the G1 Champions & Chater Cup, both races over 2400 meters. He has progressed steadily this season and his runner-up effort to Eagle Way (Aus) (More Than Ready) in the G2 Jockey Club Cup should set him up well for this.

Eagle Way might have been routed for the Cup, but for the same ownership’s Time Warp (GB) (Archipenko) in that event. Third to the latter in the Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse Nov. 4, he returned on two weeks’ rest and broke Time Warp’s 2000-meter track record when defeating Exultant last time out. He’s one that would love some pace in front of him, but the race shape may not work in his favour.

The Contenders

Waldgeist (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) easily defeated last year’s Vase runner-up Talismanic (GB) (Medaglia d’Oro) in the G2 Prix Foy at ParisLongchamp and found the line generously to finish fourth, beaten under two lengths by Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) in the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Thought to be a danger to Enable in the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf, Waldgeist never got through the deep ground and came home a distant fifth. The underfoot conditions Sunday should be more suitable, even with some rain around, but the question is whether there is still gas in the tank.

Prince of Arran (GB) (Shirocco {Ger}) has looked very well on the track this week and shows no signs of being over the top despite some heavy travel. He earned his way into the G1 Melbourne Cup by winning the G3 Lexus S. just three days prior and covered himself in glory in the big race with a third after looking dangerous 300m from home.

Mirage Dancer (GB) (Frankel {GB}) easily accounted for Red Verdon (Lemon Drop Kid) in the G3 Glorious S. (2400m) at Goodwood in early August and missed by a short head in the G3 Legacy Cup (2200m) when last spotted Sept. 22. Ryan Moore rides for Sir Michael Stoute, a team that cannot be dismissed.

The Roughies

Eziyra (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) is another in the Vase for her sire, and her third to future Arc runner-up Sea of Class (Ire) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) in the G1 Yorkshire Oaks looks pretty strong in hindsight. Latrobe (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) has made a positive impression visually this week and this year’s G1 Irish Derby hero turned in a very good effort in his latest to just miss in the G1 Mackinnon S. at Flemington Nov. 10.

The Selections

Exultant, Pakistan Star, Prince of Arran