Raiders dodge Golden Sixty and California Spangle but Champions Day attracts healthy overseas entries | HK Racing


The Golden Sixty-California Spangle one-two punch looks to have left the international raiders second guessing ahead of next month’s Group One Champions Mile, with only eight overseas gallopers entered for the HK$20 million contest.

The horse who ran third behind the pair in December’s Hong Kong Mile, Annabel Neasham’s Laws Of Indices, is among the nominations, however, and he is joined by stablemate Zaaki – a four-time Group One winner.

Last year’s Group One Hong Kong Cup (2,000m) runner-up, Danon The Kid, holds a mile entry, while connections of Kiwi galloper Aegon have expressed their desire to travel to Hong Kong.

Joining Golden Sixty and California Spangle among the local contingent is last Sunday’s Hong Kong Derby winner, Voyage Bubble, as well as three-time Group One winner Waikuku.

Danon The Kid is also among the 24 overseas nominations for the QE II Cup (2,000m) – the most popular of the three Group One features on April 30’s FWD Champions Day – while reigning Hong Kong Vase (2,400m) champion Win Marilyn is also one of the 10 Japanese gallopers entered.

Also in the mix to take on local superstar Romantic Warrior are the William Haggas-trained Dubai Honour – who took out the Group One Ranvet Stakes (2,000m) at Rosehill last weekend – and Godolphin’s Saratoga Derby Invitational Stakes winner, Nations Pride, while Zaaki holds a QE II Cup entry as well.

Group One-winning European gallopers Alenquer and El Bodegon, who are both now based in Australia, also add some intrigue to the nominations.

The Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1,200m) could welcome a healthy overseas contingent, with Australian sprinting superstars Nature Strip and Giga Kick headlining the entries.

The main rival for the John Size-trained Sight Success and Pierre Ng Pang-chi’s Duke Wai in Saturday night’s Group One Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai, George Boughey’s Al Dasim, is a chance to take on Hong Kong speed stars Lucky Sweynesse and Wellington, while Pixie Knight – who was injured in the horror four-horse fall during the 2021 Hong Kong Sprint – is among a six-strong Japanese contingent.

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“It’s very encouraging to see the quality of the international horses among the nominations after Covid-19 last season prevented us from welcoming overseas competitors. We’re delighted by the calibre of this year’s entries,” said Jockey Club executive director of racing Andrew Harding.

“The reappearance of Win Marilyn, who so brilliantly won at the Hong Kong International Races, along with other high-class contenders from Japan, Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, France, Germany and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the best Hong Kong has to offer, lays the platform for a wonderful Champions Day.”


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