Another weekend fixture with quality racing coming up at Sha Tin, headed by the Group One Champions Mile but well supported by an unusually deep edition of the Queen Mother Memorial Cup.
The Champions Mile has attracted only two foreigners, British G2 winner Penitent and New Zealand’s King Mufhasa, facing a solid local contingent even with the withdrawal of Ambitious Dragon.
That leaves the way open for Glorious Days to claim another G1 for John Size and Douglas Whyte, especially after drawing ideally in barrier two.
Size warned that he gave Glorious Days a mini-break after his defeat last run at 1,400m and has left improvement for his scheduled final run of the season in Japan, but he still expects him to be highly competitive.
His main local opposition will come from John Moore-trained Dan Excel and Xtension, shooting for a third successive victory in the only race he has ever won in Hong Kong, and from Packing Whiz, formerly with Moore but one for one now in the hands of Caspar Fownes.
Trainer Bruce Wallace and jockey Michael Rodd, however, are bullish about King Mufhasa, who had throat surgery prior to his second to Pierro in the Ryder Stakes in Sydney. Wallace, who placed with both his previous international runners in Hong Kong, said the eight-year-old has travelled well, eaten up and improved since coming to Sha Tin.
Racing at 2,400m is more a curiosity than a serious pursuit in Hong Kong, with three races at the distance per year, more often than not with fields of six or seven, but the G3 Queen Mother Cup has a full field and none can be ruled out under the handicap conditions.
Zac Purton rides 2012 winner Dominant for Moore but he is conceding pounds to up and coming stayers in Tony Cruz-trained Willie Cazals, unbeaten Mizani and Rainbow Chic, who backs up from winning last weekend.
By Nathan Mody