The draw for the Hong Kong Mile (HK-I) saw Hong Kong's Horse of the Year, Electronic Unicorn, land the coveted one hole, while Australian visitor Scenic Peak was at the other end of the spectrum, drawn outside in post 13. Post positions are not necessarily that critical over the Sha Tin layout, which features a long run to the first and only turn.
Eletronic Unicorn should settle off the speed and spot on the fence is no particular plus for him. Scenic Peak can be ridden forward or back and his owner, Daryl Steinback, said he was not perturbed by the outside gate. "He does like galloping room in his races," Steinback said. "I'd prefer him out be out there rather then getting cluttered up on the fence."
Robbie Fradd, who will ride Electronic Unicorn, was bullish about the gelding's Hong Kong Mile prospects. "John has said that he will peak for this race and when I rode him last week in a Barrier Trial he felt a lot better than in the Chevalier Cup [on Nov. 24 when second to Super Molly]. He pinged the gates, strode out well when I asked him, and was basically a new horse compared to the last time. He's going to run much better."
Top-class Japanese contender Admire Cozzene is a potential leader from post 2 while the other fancied Japanese runner, Tokai Point, begins from 6. "It is not too outside nor too inside, so that is the good draw, we think," said Tokai Point's groom, Mr. Otake, "Actually we do not care about the gate position, the only best thing is that our horse is in a great condition and he can act well from anywhere."
Admire Cozzene appeared on the main track for the first time on his fourth day in Hong Kong. He cantered on the turf track under his regular work-rider Yuta Komiyama. Yutaka Take, who will partner of him for the first time on Sunday, said: "He is a very powerful and speedy horse and I'm looking forward to the race."
Tokai Point had just an easy work in the trotting ring. "He is still keeping his condition," said his groom Mr. Otake. "He had a fast work-out yesterday and that has him ready for the race. He is eating up very well and the track condition here should suit him."
Cayoke's owner, Michael House, said: "the post position doesn't really matter to us. We're more concerned with the quality of the ground. He wants it firm and he should get that here."
Cayoke cantered around the all weather under Christophe Soumillon. "He only arrived in Hong Kong two days ago - at first he seemed a little stiff, but he was nice and loose today," Soumillon said. "He's in good condition."
Willie Haggas, trainer of Dupont, said "it doesn't matter where you draw...if you go fast enough you can win....better out in nine where there's a bit of space."
Godolphin-trained Noverre had a gentle canter on the grass Thursday morning ahead of his final career start. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said: "It would be great if he could go to stud off the back of a big run. He is well, his preparation has gone well, I am happy with him. This horse is always competitive, his last 12 races have been at group I level and he has only finished out of the money twice."
The Mark Johnston-trained Gateman cantered on the sand Thursday. "He is well and ticking over," said Johnston's wife, Deirdre. "We worked him at Southwell last week so he hasn't needed to do a lot since he has been here. This is his first try at the group I level, he is improving but this is going to be tough for him."
Nayyir, trained in Great Britain by Gerard Butler, was withdrawn from the race after coming down with a temperature. There is no replacement runner.
Hong Kong Mile (HK-I),
PP, Horse, Country
1, Electronic Unicorn, HK
2, Admire Cozzene, Jpn
3, Gateman, GB
4, Noverre, UAE
5, Jeune King Prawn, HK
6, Tokai Point, Jpn
7, Cayoke, USA
8, Super Molly, HK
9, Dupont, GB
10, Grand Delight, HK
11, Olympic Express, HK
12, Tillerman, GB
13, Scenic Peak, Aust.