Although the main current focus in Hong Kong is the two Group One international races coming up, the QE II Cup and Champions Mile, it’s also that one time of year when thoughts turn to staying horses.
Hong Kong has only three races longer than 2,200m – the international Vase in December and the Queen Mother’s Cup and Champions & Chater Cup in May, all Group races and all at 2,400m.
Wednesday night at Happy Valley sees one of the main feeder races for the domestic staying events and John Moore looks to have a great chance to put Sunny Ying on a path to Group class.
Last year, Moore had lightly-raced four-year-old Dominant in this race and he ran a slashing fourth before taking the Queen Mother’s Cup and placing in the Group One Champions & Chater as favourite. Sunny Ying might not be quite as classy as Dominant but he does stay well and stepping up to 2,200m that holds him in good stead under handicap conditions.
Elsewhere on the card, Tim Clark looks to have some solid chances despite being just about at the end of his time in Hong Kong.
He jumps on Young Talent in the first race, replacing Zac Purton, and the Caspar Fownes runner is backing up from his fifth last week over the 1,650m – often a good pointer for a Fownes horse as the trainer showed on Sunday when backing up Snitzel Kid from Wednesday.
Clark also has wining chances in Croesus for John Size in the third, Dragon Batchelor in the fifth and his best looks Vital Gold in race eighth race, an impressive last start winner from the Richard Gibson yard when stepped up to 1,650m for the first time.
That was only Vital Gold’s third local race, and he is open to improvement still.
By Nathan Mody