The Hong Kong International Races is one of the biggest events on the Global Racing Calendar and we are set for a huge afternoon of racing at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Quarantine laws mean that there will be no Australian representatives on the card, but there are still a host of jockeys, trainers and horses that are familiar to Australian audiences.
We have analysed all four Group 1 events set to take place on this incredible card and our 2017 Hong Kong International Races tips can be found below.
Race 4 - 3:30pm AEDT
This is a stellar edition of the Hong Kong Vase. It is always tough to bet against Highland Reel and the horse is an absolute marvel, but it is tough to get him as short as his current price. Talismanic beat him to win the Breeders Cup Turf in November and he is a horse that has gone to another level this preparation. This is a race that could develop into a genuine staying contest and that would suit the son of Medaglia D’oro.
A horse that does appeal at juicy odds is Tosen Basil. He was only narrowly denied in The Kyoto Daishoten at Kyoto last start and he is a horse that does have a strong turn-of-foot on his day. Joao Moreira jumps into the saddle and he looks the best chance of recording an upset.
2 Units Talismanic
1 Unit Tosen Basil
Race 5 - 4:10pm AEDT
Mr Stunning will start the Hong Kong Spring as a clear favourite and he does look like he will be tough to beat. He has gone to another level this preparation and he was excellent in both The Premier Bowl and the Jockey Club. There is a strong Australian connection with this horse through jockey Nash Rawiller and trainer John Size and this is his chance to record a maiden Group 1 victory.
A horse that does appeal at big odds is Signs Of Blessing. He was very poor last start in the Prix De L’abbaye De Longchamp Longines, but he is a much better horse than that performance suggests. He is a Group 1 winner in France and he wasn’t beaten far in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot earlier in the year.
3 Units Mr Stunning
½ Unit Signs Of Blessing
Race 7 - 5:20pm AEDT
Seasons Bloom has been racing well and he will start the Hong Kong Mile as favourite, but the international runners add another element to this race. There is no doubt that Seasons Bloom has developed into a consistent galloper, but he probably lacks the upside that you want to see from a favourite in a race of this quality.
Roly Poly was beaten in the Breeders Cup Mile, but before that she won the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket and took out the Prix Rotschild in France. She is nowhere near as consistent as Seasons Bloom, but she is capable of a high-rating effort of her day and if she has handled the trip to Hong Kong she goes into this race with a genuine chance. The $10 that is currently on offer is over the odds in what is an open race.
1 Unit Roly Poly
Race 8 - 7:30pm AEDT
Werther will start the Hong Kong Cup as a clear favourite following his win in the Jockey Club Cup. There is no doubt that he is the best of the local runners, but the big question is whether one of the internationals can bring their best form to the races.
Neorealism was disappointing first-up in the Tenno Sho in Japan, but he beat Werther to win the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong earlier this year. He is definitely not the most consistent horse in the world, but he is capable of a world-class performance on his day and he does have the benefit of Joao Moreira in the saddle.
Poet’s World has form around some of the best horses in Europe and he was sent to Hong following second place finishes in the Irish Champion Stakes and the Champion Stakes at Ascot. He is a horse that still looks to have a fair amount of upside and this is his chance to record a maiden Group 1 win.
1.5 Units Neorealism
1.5 Units Poet’s World