Breeders Cup Mile (gr. IT) runner-up Kip Deville will head a record American raiding party for this year’s Cathay Pacific International races in Hong Kong December 14.
Hong Kong Jockey Club executive director of racing Bill Nader said Oct. 29 that his sustained bid to get champion Curlin to Sha Tin looks doomed but there are multiple consolation prizes, including Kip Deville and Breeders Cup Turf Sprint hero, Desert Code.
Not only was Kip Deville runner-up to the outstanding French filly Goldikova at Santa Anita last Saturday, he won the same race 12 months earlier when the BC meeting was held on the east coast at Monmouth Park.
“Richard Dutrow (trainer) and the owners have committed to come, which is really good news for our big meeting,” Nader said. “Kip Deville is a top-class miler and it’s taken an extraordinary filly to prevent him winning back-to-back Breeders Cup Miles. They are talking about her in the same terms as Miesque.”
Miesque is the famous French filly of the late 1980s, a daughter of Nureyev and winner of successive Breeders Cup Miles (1987-88) under Freddie Head, who became the first person to ride and train Breeders Cup winners as the handler of Goldikova.
Head, who trails only Aidan O’Brien as the world’s leading trainer of Group One winners in 2008, is already committed to a December start for Marchand d’Or in the Hong Kong Sprint.
Dutrow, who has had a monster year as the trainer of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) hero Big Brown , thought Kip Deville was a “good thing” for a repeat BC Mile last weekend but had no complaints after the colt was humbled by Goldikova.
Richard Migliori, one of the top jockeys in America, made his first trip to Hong Kong for last year’s International Jockeys Championship at Happy Valley and will get a return gig as the jockey of Desert Code.
“This horse won the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint, with a big finishing burst, and his trainer has told us he’ll be supplemented into the Hong Kong Sprint,” Nader said.
Globetrotting South African trainer Mike de Kock went close to adding the Emirates Airlines Breeders Cup Turf to his growing trophy cabinet and has confirmed his intention to make another Hong Kong visit with Eagle Mountain, runner-up to Conduit at Santa Anita.
Like many of de Kock’s global rovers, Eagle Mountain is raced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum. He will be partnered again in the HK$14 million Hong Kong Vase by Kevin Shea, who won this year’s Dubai Sheema Classic for de Kock on board Sun Classique.
In addition to the three “confirmed” horses, Nader said he has four more in intermediate stages of commitment, with inaugural Breeders Cup Marathon winner Muhannak “a real possibility” for the Hong Kong Vase.
Other potential contenders from America are Awesome Gem, Rebellion and In Summation .
America’s only strike at the December international meeting came in 1997 when the James Picou-trained Val’s Prince landed the Hong Kong Cup. More recently, Nicole’s Dream ran last in the 2005 Hong Kong Sprint, won by Natural Blitz.