Woodward Stakes Day
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Summer & Natalma Stakes
Prince of Wales Stakes
James McDonald and Romantic Warrior return after winning the Hong Kong Cup.
The Longines Hong Kong International Races are the richest horse races run in Hong Kong, and is the last major race day for Thoroughbred flat racing anywhere in the world. Billed as the "Turf World Championships", four Group 1 races were contested on Sunday afternoon over the right-handed 1 3/16 mile turf oval at Sha Tin Racecourse. Conditions were ideal for racing, with partly cloudy skies, a daytime high of 19 C (66 F) for the estimated 45,000 fans in attendance, and the turf course was rated good.
Hong Kong Jockey Club's CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said, "Today is about the sport, today is about world-class racing and today is about celebrating champions. Today, Hong Kong has shown that we have world-class quality. It's amazing that we have only 1,250 horses in training – that is 0.8 percent of the world's horse population and it is amazing how many quality horses we have in Hong Kong who are world leaders. I want to thank our team who have done an absolutely outstanding effort because what the team has pulled off has made me as the CEO extremely proud because this is the Hong Kong 'Can Do' spirit and this is excellence of the Hong Kong Jockey Club – and we never give up. We are on the world stage and we are global leaders and we can do things very few others can do. The overseas connections who came here, I would like to thank them because they made it a global event and they were all extremely appreciative at how we could conduct this event and stage a global show." A new record handle of HK$1.729 billion (US$222 million) was wagered on the 10-race card.
Down the stretch in the Hong Kong Cup.
In the main event, a field of 8 older horses contested the HK$34 million (US$4.4 million) Longines Hong Kong Cup (G1) at 2000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) on the turf. Romantic Warrior was sent off as the 4-5 favorite in the field of 12 off a three race win streak including the Hong Kong Derby, Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1), and Jockey Club Cup (G2). In to challenge him included 4-1 second choice Jack D'Or, fourth in the Tenno Sho Autumn (G1) after winning the Sapporo Kinen (G2), and 9-2 third choice Panthalassa, second in both the Sapporo Kinen and Tenno Sho Autumn.
Jockey Yoshito Yahagi sent Panthalassa to the lead first time by through fractions of 25.34, 48.87, and 1:12.38 while pressed by 121-1 longest shot Ka Ying Star and stalked by 13-1 Lei Papale and 43-1 Money Catcher. Turning for home, Panthalassa tired allowing Ka Ying Star to briefly lead through 1 mile in 1:36.25 before fading late. Romantic Warrior, fifth early under James McDonald, swept past the leaders at the 3/16 pole and powered away through the lane to win by 4 1/2 lengths over late-running Danon the Kid in 1:59.70. It was another 3/4 length back to Money Catcher third.
# Horse Jockey Win Place 2 Romantic Warrior McDonald 3.70 2.02 6 Danon the Kid Kitamura 8.30 9 Money Catcher De Sousa 14.80 Winning Time: 1:59.70 $1 Quinella 2-6 13.75 $1 Exacta 2-6 25.90 $1 Trifecta 2-6-9 337.50Results Chart from HKJC with video replay
Left: Romantic Warrior in the winner's circle after the Hong Kong Cup. Winning trainer Danny Shum said, "His owner Peter Lau said 'Danny, if we win (the King's Stand at Royal Ascot) we should target the Hong Kong Triple Crown over 1600m, 2000m and 2400m' His confidence keeps increasing but ever since I saw him at the International Sale, he has been so professional and calm in everything he does," he added. "It has been an amazing effort by my team and I think this must be the most memorable day of my career."
Right: The winning connections celebrate with the trophies after the race. McDonald said, "This is the race here in Hong Kong I want to win! I didn't think he'd win like that but the quality of this horse is amazing. His turn of foot is incredible. He's got everything a good horse needs and he's got it in spades. This horse has a lot of great attributes but his greatest is that he's so adaptable at taking a position. I promise you, that was really as good as it looked. He was perfect from start to finish today and he's right up there with any of the other really good ones I've ridden, don't worry about that."
Jockey Vincent Ho sent 15-1 Senor Toba to the lead first time by and he set easy fractions of 25.90, 50.26, 1:15.51, 1:39.96, and 2:03.68 while pressed by 8-1 Botanik and stalked by 39-1 Butterfield and Stone Age. Turning for home, Senor Toba tired as Win Marilyn, 7th early under Damien Lane, came out for room and outfinished Botanik to win by 1 1/2 lengths in 2:27.53. It was another 1/4 length back to late-running Glory Vase third, while favorite Stone Age tired late to finish fifth beaten 3 3/4 lengths.
# Horse Jockey Win Place 9 Win Marilyn Lane 13.10 4.00 5 Botanik Buick 4.20 3 Glory Vase Moreira 3.20 Winning Time: 2:27.53 $1 Quinella 5-9 28.80 $1 Exacta 9-5 63.00 $1 Trifecta 9-5-3 279.30Results Chart from HKJC with video replay
Left: Win Marilyn in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Damien Lane said, "She travelled sweetly. You can ride her wherever you want and I was happy to take a sit because I knew with her turn of foot she could finish over them. There was a little sense of relief I suppose, I've had a few goes here with no success. I think the 2400m really suits her and the horse who beat her the other day (Geraldina) was something special so I was confident that Win Marilyn could hold her form today. It's a privilege to be a part of Japanese racing and getting on these horses."
Right: Owner's representative of Win Marilyn poses with the trophy. Winning trainer Takahisa Tezuka said, "After the Queen Elizabeth II Cup, we got together and unanimously decided to target this race. The mare was at her optimum trip and Damien gave her the perfect ride. It's my first winner here and I'm incredibly proud."
Jockey Christophe Lemaire sent 14-1 Sight Success to the lead down the backstretch and around the turn through fractions of 24.19 and 46.32 while pressed by 49-1 Lim's Kosciuszko and stalked by 21-1 Meikei Yell. Turning for home, Wellington, 10th early under Ryan Moore, came out for room and rallied to win by 3/4 length over pacesetter Sight Success in 1:08.76. It was another 3/4 length back to late-running 33-1 Sky Field third, while favorite Lucky Sweynesse finished sixth beaten 2 1/2 lengths.
# Horse Jockey Win Place 1 Wellington Moore 8.30 3.40 12 Sight Success Lemaire 7.10 2 Sky Field Shinn 12.00 Winning Time: 1:08.76 $1 Quinella 1-12 31.45 $1 Exacta 1-12 61.80 $1 Trifecta 1-12-2 556.90Results Chart from HKJC with video replay
Left: Wellington in his winner's blanket. Winning trainer Richard Gibson said, "In a five-month preparation we have put everything into getting him back and ready for today, but if he comes out of it good of course we will look at Ascot. You can't call yourself a sprint champion unless you take out this big one. I'm gutted for (injured regular rider) Alexis Badel but proud of our team, who had a lot of work to do after his last run. We let nature take its course and were patient and also pleased that he hadn't missed any work. I thought Ryan's execution was micro perfect."
Right: The winning connections celebrate with the trophy after the race. Moore said, "He began well off a very slow pace for the first furlong and a half to two furlongs. I was happy and mindful that he would be able to go when he wanted to go. He quickened up and sealed it in a few strides. I've always felt he was the best sprinter in Hong Kong. To me he looked the part. He had excuses the last time and today he was very relaxed and fell asleep during the race, but as soon as I asked him he was straight into gear. I'm very fortunate to come here so often and it's a fitting way to end the year."
Jockey Zac Purton sent California Spangle to the lead out of the chute through an opening quarter of 23.01 before 23-1 Beauty Joy took over around the turn through a half in 47.52 and 3/4 in 1:10.06 pressed by California Spangle and stalked by 54-1 Laws of Indices. Entering the stretch, California Spangle surged to the front and was all out to hold off fast closing favorite Golden Sixty from 5th early to win by a neck in 1:33.41. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to Laws of Indices third.
# Horse Jockey Win Place 2 California Spangle Purton 6.40 2.20 1 Golden Sixty Ho 2.02 7 Laws of Indices McDonald 15.60 Winning Time: 1:33.41 $1 Quinella 1-2 1.80 $1 Exacta 2-1 5.70 $1 Trifecta 2-1-7 57.00Results Chart from HKJC with video replay
Left: California Spangle in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Tony Cruz said, "Everything can change within a second in a race like that, but I expected him to win an international race one day. Golden Sixty is a fantastic horse but maybe age is catching up with him. Everything turned out fantastically well for us and we are lucky to have Zac in the saddle."
Right: Mr Michael Lee, Chairman of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, presents the LONGINES Hong Kong Mile winning trophyto California Spangle's owner Mr Howard Liang Yum-shing. Winning jockey Zac Purton said, "I think today we have seen how versatile he can be. When he went clear I could hear Golden Sixty breathing down my neck, but when we were still in front at the hundred I thought, hang on, he's not going to catch us. I won't discredit Golden Sixty in any way, but today we evened things up and I would like to pay tribute to Tony, who was a legendary jockey and is also a legend as a trainer in the way he gets horses to peak for him."
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