The Hong Kong Vase is the first Group 1 race on a stacked card at Sha Tin on Sunday for one of the most anticipated race meetings on the world calendar.
The race is run over 2400m and European gallopers have dominated the race, winning 20 of the 24 editions.
Waldgeist has been around the world this year, racing in Europe and North America and is the deserving favourite in early betting.
We have analysed all 14 runners and our complete 2018 Hong Kong Vase tips can be found below.
Waldgeist has the highest timeform rating of any horse in this field with 122 and goes into this race in superb form. The five year old son of Galileo put together four wins in a row over the 2400m before a pair of defeats at the hands of arguably the worlds best horse in Enable. He was not disgraced in either of those races, finishing 4th in Arc De Triomphe and 5th in the Longines Cup at Churchill Downs. He goes into this race having raced in two of the best staying races in the world and is the horse to beat.
Pakistan Star was a genuine global star of the turf however he is not the horse he once was. He has won more prize money than any horse in this field but it is hard to make a case for him based off his two most recent runs. He does drop in weight and gets out to a more suitable distance but he is a massive betting risk.
Salouen would have finished alongside Waldgeist in the Arc had he not have been squeezed for room at a crucial stage inside the last 200m of the race. Oisin Murphy, who Australians are familiar with having ridden Benbatl in the Cox Plate, rode the horse in the Arc and will partner again in the Vase. The five year old chestnut represents good value at his current quote.
Exultant has been building nicely this prep and gets out to the more suitable 2400m. He has had two starts at this distance for a win and a second and he gets the benefit of Zac Purton steering. He was not beaten far in the Group 2 Bochk Cup last start and is one of the local hopes. As a guide, he was beaten just over two lengths two starts back by Time Warp who is rated a $5.00 chance in the Hong Kong Cup (2000m) later in the night.
Mirage Dancer is a progressive four year old by Frankel who has been freshened up after he was beaten a short head in the Group 3 Legacy Cup at Newbury in September. The horse will have to go to another level to win a race like this however he has shown plenty of ability. No horse has won the race from barrier 13 however Ryan Moore is a world class jock and will no doubt give him every chance.
Eagle Way has had a similar preparation for this race as Exultant. He finished ahead of that horse in both their last two runs however he is suited to the shorter distances. He has had 6 starts over the 2400m for 2:0:1 and would have to climb to another level to compete against a quality field such as this one.
Australians know Red Vernon’s colours all too well through the success of Red Cadeaux and Ed Dunlop is searching for another International Group 1 with the six year old chestnut. His 11th of 18 in the Caulfield Cup was much better than it appears on paper and the late withdrawal out of the MelbourneCup may prove a blessing in disguise heading into this race. He is well over the odds in current betting and will be finishing strong late.
Prince Of Arran
Prince Of Arran was one of the stars of the Australian Spring Carnival which finished with an excellent third in the Melbourne Cup. The horse should be very fit however I am weary of the fact this may have been an after thought as well as the sharp drop in distance. Micheal Walker continues his affiliation with the horse and at his best, he is every chance in the race.
Ruthven has not shown anything to suggest that she is up to a race of this quality and not even the booking of Hugh Bowman will give her a winning chance.
Lys Gracieux is a four year old mare on the rise. She has been out of the placings only three times in her 16 race career to date and she is a last start winner in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth in Japan. She has drawn wide however the Magic Man is on board and he certainly knows this track well. One of the leading contenders.
She has been beaten a neck in the past two editions of the Group One Queen Elizabeth in Kyoto, Japan over the 2200m. This is her first go at the 2400m and first time outside of Japan. Her form before her last start second was only fair and no horse has won this race from the inside barrier.
Eziyra has won six of her 12 starts but none have been at Group 1 level. She was not disgraced in the Group 1 for the Fillies and Mares on Breeders Cup day at Churchill Downs but was beaten six lengths nonetheless. This seems her ideal trip and she is not without a chance but I prefer others.
Latrobe is the first of Aiden O’Brien runner in the race and performance in the Mackinnon Stakes was of a high rating. He is only a lightly raced four year old and he gets in very well at the weights. He has had two starts at the distance for two wins and James Mcdonald picks up the ride who has been in very good form since returning. He has drawn well and is the horse to beat in my opinion.
The second of Aiden Obrien’s runners had a good trip to Australia over the Spring. He did a lot of work in the Cox Plate and battled on well before producing an excellent turn of foot at the end of the 3200m in the Melbourne Cup to finish fifth. I am not a fan of the sharp drop in distance and his stable mate looks better suited for this race. In saying that, he is capable of a high rating performance and he seems well over the odds.
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