A different kind of post position draw entertained attendees at Wednesday's Hong Kong International Races barrier draw ceremony. The first three races, the group III Sprint, and the group I Mile and Vase followed a format where a chosen guest, usually a steward from the Hong Kong Jockey Club, drew random pills to indicate order of receiving the posts. The gate numbers were then handed to the horses' connections in a sealed envelope; however, no one could open their envelope until the entire field had representation on stage. Then they displayed their numbers all at once.
In addition, in optimistic Hong Kong fashion, an honorary motto was given to each race's drawing. The first, for the Sprint, was the Mega-Luck draw. The American representatives got a fair amount of luck, with Big Jag receiving the seven, and Morluc getting the 10.
In the Mile, Charge d'Affaires pulled the 10 spot as well. Native Desert will start just to his outside in the 11 hole. Both Christophe Clement and Juan Garcia, trainers of Charge d'Affaires and Native Desert, respectively, were on hand for the ceremony.
After showing six for Val's Prince, trainer Jimmy Picou looked very happy with his horse's spot on Sunday. Exercise rider Sean Clancy said the horse was pulling hard Wednesday morning, and seems ready to go.
For the richest race on the card, the Hong Kong Cup, the United States has two representatives. Arthur Appleton's Forbidden Apple will start from the one spot, while Gary Tanaka's Falcon Flight drew the 10.
Gary Tanaka owns two horses competing in the Vase, and three total racing on Sunday. One of his vase entrants, Caitano, drew the far outside 13 post, but with 12 furlongs to run, the post loses some of its importance. Tanaka's other horse, Ela Athena, drew the two hole. Both are representing England. "We preferred their post positions were switched," said Tanaka. "Ela Athena doesn't like the inside."
Of the American horses competing in the Cup, Falcon Flight is coming off the longest layoff. He has not raced since July 30 at Del Mar, but trainer Ben Cecil said he runs well fresh. "He came back exactly in time for this race," said Tanaka.
George Isaacs, racing and general manager for Arthur Appleton's Bridlewood operation, said his camp decided to bring Forbidden Apple after he experienced bad racing luck in the Breeders' Cup. In the end he finished only 2 * lengths behind Turf (gr. IT) winner War Chant. Isaacs said the problems were not in the jockey, and Jose Santos again has the mount in Hong Kong. "We were hoping for an inside draw, but not the extreme inside...we'll have to be pleased with this," Isaacs said of the inside post one.
(Entries, post position draw, workouts, Hong Kong Jockey Club