United States-based Designed For Luck and Great Britain-based Majestic Missile were withdrawn Dec. 9 from the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile (HK-I) and the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint (HK-I), respectively. The races are two of four group I events to be run Dec. 11 at Sha Tin racecourse.
Hong Kong Jockey Club stewards ordered the scratches based on veterinary advice, according to a release. Designed For Luck, trained by Vladimir Cerin, developed some lameness in his right hind fetlock, and his connections believe the 8-year-old gelding wouldn't be prepared to race.
Majestic Missile, meanwhile, had contracted a fever and had some "blood abnormality" upon his arrival in Hong Kong, officials said. The 4-year-old colt trained by William Haggas is still feeling the effects of travel sickness.
The defections leave a field of 14 in the HK$14-million Mile at 1,600 meters, and a field of 12 in the HK$10-million Sprint at 1,000 meters. The other two races in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Races series are the HK$18-million Cup at 2,000 meters, and the HK$14-million Vase at 2,400 meters.
The U.S. is now down to two representatives. Cerin also has the 3-year-old Willow O Wisp in the Cup, and trainer Larry Rivelli has the 5-year-old mare Nicole's Dream in the Sprint.
The nine-race program at Sha Tin includes five other stakes valued at HK$750,000 to HK$1.6 million. They are named after the international cities of Dublin, London, Paris, Tokyo, and Washington, D.C. No race on the card drew less than 10 horses; five of them still had 14 starters as of the afternoon of Dec. 9.
Jockey Club officials said the four International races would be broadcast around the world to an estimated audience of one billion viewers. Live coverage or features on the races will be available in Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates in Asia; Australia and New Zealand in Oceania; and France, Germany, Ireland, and the United Kingdom in Europe.
Racing associations in seven countries will offer separate-pool wagering on either the four International races or the entire nine-race program from Sha Tin.