Winchester Lone U.S. Hope in Hong Kong Races
by Blood-Horse Staff
Date Posted: 12/9/2010 3:44:33 PM
Last Updated: 12/11/2010 12:43:00 PM

Winchester
Photo: Coglianese Photos

Winchester, the only United States-based horse taking part in the 2010 Cathay Pacific International Races at Sha Tin Racecourse Dec. 12, drew post post position 3 for the HK$14 million Hong Kong Vase (HK-I).

Mr. and Mrs. Bertram R. Firestone's 5-year-old homebred will face 13 rivals in the 2,400-meter (about 1 1/2 miles) grass event. Olivier Peslier has the riding assignment for trainer Christophe Clement.

Among Winchester's opponents are Ireland's 3-year-old colt Joshua Tree, winner of the Pattison Canadian International (Can-IT) at Woodbine Oct. 16, and Great Britain's Redwood, victorious in the Northern Dancer Dancer Turf Stakes Presented by Vtech (Can-IT), also at Woodbine, Sept. 19.

Defending Hong Kong Horse of the Year Viva Pataca is the local favorite. The 8-year-old won the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup (HK-I) at Sha Tin April 25, one of eight group I wins in his career, to become the highest-earning runner in Hong Kong history. Still, trainer John Moore has reservations.

"We’re very happy with his preparation since he recovered from his shoe boil and we’ve got him as fit as hands can make him," Moore said. "But whether he can win this Vase I just doubt. No Hong Kong horse has won this race for years and I think this is the best Vase ever. It’s a very high class field with so many GI winners in it, and giving due consideration to his age and his interrupted preparation, and to the strength and depth of the opposition, it’s asking a lot of him.”

Winchester is coming off a non-threatening fourth-place finish in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs Nov. 6. He has won a pair of grade I races at Belmont Park this year, the 1 1/2-mile Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational over yielding turf Oct. 2 and the 10-furlong Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) over firm going June 5.

The son of Theatrical--Rum Charger, by Spectrum, has earned more than $1.2 million while winning five times in a 20-race career, including the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) as a 3-year-old in his American debut in August 2008.

Following the Dec. 9 barrier draw, here are the post positions for the four-race Cathay Pacific International series.

Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase (HK-I), 1 1/2 Miles, HK$14 Million, Post Time 2 p.m. (1 a.m. EST)
PP -- (#) Horse (Country)
1 -- (11) Mighty High (HK)
2 -- (5) Mastery (UA)
3 -- (6) Winchester (USA)
4 -- (10) King Dancer (HK)
5 -- (14) Joshua Tree (IRE)
6 -- (9) Redwood (GB)
7 -- (3) Jaguar Mail (JPN)
8 -- (7) Indian Days (GB)
9 -- (1) Americain (FR)
10 -- (12) Crystal Capella (GB)
11 -- (13) Board Meeting (FR)
12 -- (4) Jakkalberry (ITY)
13 -- (2) Viva Pataca (HK)
14 -- (8) Mr Medici (HK)

Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint (HK-I), 6 Furlongs, HK$12 Million, Post Time 2:40 p.m. (1:40 a.m. EST)
PP -- (#) Horse (Country)
1 -- (6) Kingsgate Native (GB)
2 -- (1) Sacred Kingdom (HK)
3 -- (9) Little Bridge (HK)
4 -- (7) Ultra Fantasy (HK)
5 -- (14) Ortensia (AUS)
6 -- (3) Rocket Man (SIN)
7 -- (4) Green Birdie (HK)
8 -- (2) JJ The Jet Plane (SAF)
9 -- (11) Dim Sum (HK)
10 -- (13) Cerise Cherry (HK)
11 -- (12) Let Me Fight (HK)
12 -- (10) Lucky Nine (HK)
13 -- (5) Joy And Fun (HK)
14 -- (8) One World (HK)

Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile (HK-I), HK$16 Million, Post Time 3:50 p.m. (2:50 a.m. EST)
PP -- (#) Horse (Country)
1 -- (5) Dream Eater (GB)
2 -- (2) Able One (HK)
3 -- (3) Fellowship (HK)
4 -- (10) Chater Way (HK)
5 -- (11) Beethoven (IRE)
6 -- (13) Rajsaman (FR)
7 -- (7) Good Ba Ba (HK)
8 -- (6) A Shin Forward (JPN)
9 -- (14) Sahpresa (FR)
10 -- (8) Sight Winner (HK)
11 -- (9) Thumbs Up (HK)
12 -- (12) Royal Bench (FR)
13 -- (1) Paco Boy (GB)
14 -- (4) Beauty Flash (HK)

Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup (HK-I), 1 1/4 Miles, HK$20 Million, Post Time 4:30 p.m. (3:30 a.m. EST)
PP -- (#) Horse (Country)
1 -- (4) Super Satin (HK)
2 -- (6) Irian (HK)
3 -- (7) Sri Putra (GB)
4 -- (5) Glass Harmonium (GB)
5 -- (2) Collection (HK)
6 -- (8) Packing Winner HK)
7 -- (1) Vision d'Etat (FR)
8 -- (13) Snow Fairy (GB)
9 -- (9) Super Pastachio (HK)
10 -- (10) Planteur (FR)
11 -- (12) Reggane (FR)
12 -- (11) Stacelita (FR)
13 -- (3) Cirrus des Aigles (FR)
 



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