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Winning jockey Joao Moreira celebrates after winning the Hong Kong Mile aboard Able Friend
In the HK$20 million (US$2.6 million) Longines Hong Kong Mile (G1), the world's richest turf mile race, a field of 10 older horses (after Ambitious Dragon scratched) went to post for the 1600 meter (about 1 mile) trip around one turn of the Sha Tin turf. Classic Mile (G1) winner Able Friend was sent off as the prohibitive 3-10 favorite off his win in the Jockey Club Mile (G2), the local prep for this event. In to challenge him included 9-2 second choice Gold-Fun, winner of the Queen's Silver Jubilee (G1), and 8-1 third choice Fiero, a close second in the Mile Championship (G1) at Kyoto.
Jockey Douglas Whyte sent Gold-Fun to the lead down the backstretch and he set fractions of 23.92 and 47.42 while stalked by 53-1 Secret Sham and 12-1 Able Friend. Entering the lane, Secret Sham gained a short lead through 3/4 in 1:11.41. Favorite Able Friend, 9th through the first 1/2 mile, circled the field on the turn and ran by Gold-Fun and the tiring Secret Sham at the 1/8 pole and powered away to a 4 1/4 length win in 1:33.49 over the good-to-firm course. It was another 1/4 length from Gold-Fun to late-running 70-1 Grand Prix Boss third.
# Horse Jockey Win Place 1 Able Friend Moreira $13.50 $10.50 2 Gold-Fun Whyte $12.50 4 Grand Prix Boss Iwata $86.00 Winning Time: 1:33.49 $10 Quinella 1-2 $21.50 $10 Trifecta 1-2-3 $442.00 $10 First Four 1-2-4-9 $432.00 * Note that these are $10 payoffs from Hong KongResults Chart from HKJC with video replay
Left: Able Friend in the winner's circle. Winning trainer John Moore said, "To see the facile win today was just amazing and I'm just a very lucky person. This horse has a turn of foot as he can relax through his races. He's not spending a penny – you just show him daylight and he's got an explosive kick. Some of the horses today were serious horses and I think I've got one of the better milers on the planet. It will be the Stewards' Cup next and I'll do my utmost to convince the owner to go for the Dubai Duty Free but that might be a long lunch and a lot of alcohol. We're so happy we've got him in the yard and we look forward to better things.".
Right: Able Friend heads back to the barn in his winner's blanket.
The trophy presentation for the Hong Kong Mile. Winning jockey Joao Moreira said, "The way he's won, coming from a long way back, passing by them and not even being hit by the whip – wow! He's such an amazing horse. He has a great turn of foot and the way he won today gives me the feeling that he's the best horse I've ever sat on. I was never worried in the race and knew exactly what I was doing," he continued. "I have a lot of faith in this horse and knew he was just going to come over the top of them. He has that kind of stride, a really big stride, that I knew that if he put it all together he was just going to run over the top."
Left: Second place finisher Gold-Fun returns after the race. Jockey Douglas Whyte said, "We wanted to change things up a bit. Take the initiative and make the pace. He ran very well but obviously was no match for the winner."
Right: Third place finisher Grand Prix Boss heads out to the track before the race. Jockey Yasunari Iwata said, "He drove strongly in the stretch."
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