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Some of the international horses on the track at Sha Tin on Saturday.

2007 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Races
Workout Photos

Date: 12/08/2007

It was a busy morning at Sha Tin Racecourse on Thursday as most of the contenders for the Hong Kong International Races were on the all weather track for some maintenance work prior to the big races tomorrow. It was a nice, sunny morning and slightly cool, although it looks like it will be a bit warmer for the races on Sunday. According to the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the going will be as fraction faster than good in the Turf World Championships tomorrow.

Australia's hope in the Sprint, Miss Andretti, also went out for a gallop. Trainer Lee Freedman said, "She's full of herself at the moment. I am pleased this race is tomorrow and not in another week's time."

European Champion and Arc de Triomphe winner Dylan Thomas went very quickly today, the fifth day in a row that he has been asked to put in some strong exercise in preparation for the Hong Kong Vase. Trainer Aidan O'Brien admitted to be running a race against time to have him ready for the Vase following his lengthy stay in quarantine in Japan. As he headed back to the barn, his rider got off to walk beside him.

Red Rocks with his trainer Brian Meehan on the turf course after his gallop. Red Rocks, one of Dylan Thomas' main challengers in the Vase, went out for a gallop on Saturday morning. Trainer Brian Meehan said, "Everything has gone well and Red Rocks is relaxed, though I'm not quite sure how to interpret that. He is usually a bit more on his toes but the surroundings here have relaxed him His lad and work rider, Steve Hadley, says he feels better than ever, which is the main thing."

Mile contender Darjina put in some maintenance work on Saturday. Trainer Alain de Royer- Dupre expressed confidence, stating that "Everything is fine and (owner) Princess Zahra is coming!"

Konko Rikishio, Japanese entrant in the Mile, galloped one lap of the all-weather track under exercise rider Yoichi Tabara, who said, "He is in top form and we are all set for tomorrow's big race. He will set the pace tomorrow, he is a very tough horse and has settled in very quickly. We are very hopeful of a big performance." Notice that he is wearing a muzzle, something you don't see very often.

Hong Kong Cup entrant Ramonti with trainer Saeed bin Suroor had over for the morning works. Bin Suroor said, "Although he's won three Group Ones over a mile we think he needs further so we're giving it a try. If he goes well, it will give us an idea for future races. I have some confidence he will run well because his work in Dubai last Saturday was very good. I'm hoping he will lead in the race and relax in front."

Another Vase entrant, Doctor Dino, was out for a gallop this morning. His trainer Richard Gibson said, "Though it is great to have an Arc winner in the field, it's going to be a hell of a task to beat that guy. Apart from Dylan Thomas, I have huge respect for Quijano, but I have got to say that we are delighted with Doctor Dino's preparation."

Also in the Vase, Quijano was out this morning as well. Gestut Fahrhof's racing manager, Simon Stokes said, "He's very well indeed, absolutely spot on in my view. Of course on what he has achieved Dylan Thomas is going to be hard to beat, but he's had a long campaign, and if that and all the travelling begins to tell on him, then I hope we can take advantage. I think Quijano is ready to run a big race,"

Aidan O'Brien trainee Excellent Art, who will go in the Hong Kong Mile, was out with Dylan Thomas this morning. O'Brien said, "At Monmouth Park (he finished second in the Breeders' Cup Mile) the draw was against him, as was the ground with it shifting underneath him. The ground here is beautiful and it's a lovely track so that will be a big help. He has not done as much racing as Dylan Thomas but he is a good, tough honest horse and we're hoping for a good run."

Benbaun, who was third in the Sprint last year, is back to try the Sprint again. Trainer Mark Wallace said, "I think he is a better horse this year, mainly because in the past he's had the odd niggling injury, but this year has been problem free, and as a result he's been travelling better in his races. If he was meeting the same opposition as last year I'd fancy him to finish closer this time but the field does look a fair bit stronger on Sunday."

Creachadoir looks good as he heads back to the barn after his gallop. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said of the Mile runner, "He has settled in nice and he's going to be a good horse for us. It's a strong race, but he will run well."

Peter Garvey, owner of Vase runner Arch Rebel, was at the track to watch the horse breeze on the dirt. "He'd be a big outsider," Garvey said. "The going should be okay for him and we'll just have to see how he goes. We obviously tried him over hurdles and although he showed some good form he prefers the flat and we were pleased with his effort in his last race at Longchamp (when a nose second in the Gr.2 Prix Conseil de Paris)."

Commenting on his Sprint runner, Marchand D'Or, trainer Freddie Head, making his first appearance at Sha Tin, said: "All is well with the horse. I was pleased with his work today."

German Vase entrant Egerton was out this morning with jockey Torsten Mundry aboard.

French Vase entrant Kocab was a bit frisky this morning.

Laurie Laxon said, "He did everything right to day, handled the right handed turn and changed legs as you would hope. We won't know how good he is until Sunday, but I think he'll run well. He tends to be on or close to the lead in his races back home, but he doesn't have to be and Noel Callow is a patient jockey."

Another Sprint runner, Tiza, was out today to stretch his legs. French trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre said, "Tiza, he is such a well-travelled horse the journey was no problem for him and has now settled in. The Sprint is going to be a tough race for him, but he has a very good acceleration and I am hopeful for a good performance,"

German-based Bussoni is another who will tackle Dylan Thomas in the Vase.

Trainer Jean-Marie Beguigne said Mile contender Spirito del Vento "is in very good order and has acclimatised well. He seems very relaxed and I'm pleased with him."

Macleya, one of two runners prepared by Andre Fabre for the Vase, is in "good condition" Alan Leonard, who bought the mare for owner Richard Thompson, said. "Everyone is very happy with her and she's holding her form well. The draw in gate 12 could have been kinder but we are hoping to be thereabouts," he added.

Musical Way, a French runner for the Cup, galloped this morning.

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