International contingent braves the Hong Kong rain
Date Posted: 12/3/2012 4:58:23 PM
Last Updated: 12/7/2012 7:58:04 PM
Leaden skies and rain greeted the international contenders as they headed out
on to Sha Tin Racecourse shortly after 8:30 a.m. local time on Monday, seven
days ahead of their Group 1 engagements in Sunday's Hong Kong International
Red Cadeaux (Vase) and Gordon Lord Byron (Mile) broke ranks to work on the
turf course, while the remainder did light exercise on the wet all-weather
surface. Of the 27 overseas raiders, all bar Cirrus Des Aigles (Cup), Sea
Moon (Vase), Meandre (Vase), Dandino (Vase) and Master of Hounds (Mile) ventured
out of the quarantine stables.
Red Cadeaux, who missed by a whisker in last year's Group 1 Melbourne Cup,
exits a rallying eighth in the November 6 renewal. The Ed Dunlop trainee
reportedly covered his final half-mile of his turf gallop in 1:02.9, and looks
to improve on his dead-heat third to Dunaden in the 2011 Hong Kong Vase.
"He's had a nice canter today with Sunday's jockey Gerald (Mosse) looking
on," traveling head lad Robin Trevor-Jones said. "That will have done him the
world of good. He's in great order and as fit as a fiddle."
Defending Vase champion Dunaden cantered two laps in the slop. Last year's
Melbourne Cup hero made a triumphant return to Australia to take the Group 1
Caulfield Cup on October 20, but was out of luck when 14th at Melbourne.
"You must be very careful with him," said Mathieu Brasme, assistant trainer
to Mikel Delzangles. "He looks nice, but he is known to buck and jump without
warning, and a few of his riders have ended on the ground!"
Vase rival Joshua Tree, who regained his crown in the Grade 1 Canadian
International last out, cantered a lap on the all-weather track.
"As you can see he is full of beans," exercise rider Wayne Goldsborough said.
"He's almost too well!"
Hong Kong Mile contender Gordon Lord Byron tuned up on the turf course, where
he toured his final half-mile in :50. The winner of the Group 1 Prix de la Foret
in his latest, the progressive four-year-old now ventures outside of Europe for
the first time.
"He did a nice piece of work this morning," said Andrew Hogan, trainer Tom
Hogan's son and assistant. "He traveled well and it was just what we wanted.
We're happy with his preparation."
Japan's Mile duo, Sadamu Patek and Grand Prix Boss, each cantered one lap on
the all-weather. Sadamu Patek just denied Grand Prix Boss by a neck in the Grade
1 Mile Championship on November 18.
Yuichiro Shiomitsu, groom for trainer Masato Nishizono, commented on Sadamu
"The travel was very smooth, and I heard it was the easiest trip for some
years," Shiomitsu said. "We will breeze him under jockey Yutaka Take on
Wednesday, and depending on the condition of both horse and track we will decide
which surface to gallop on."
Grand Prix Boss is showing signs of coping better, according to Koji Kubo,
strapper for trainer Yoshito Yahagi.
"He was a little tense in the different surroundings when he was in
quarantine at home, but the good thing is he is with many other horses here, so
he is getting relaxed and his appetite is back now," Kubo revealed. "If he gets
back to his normal weight, it will be a good sign."
Giofra cantered two circuits of the all-weather track. The filly scored her
signature win in the Group 1 Falmouth at Newmarket in July and most recently
checked in third in the Group 1 Prix de l'Opera.
"We cannot do much on such ground," exercise rider Majorie Conte said, "and I
need to find another pair of jeans for tomorrow now!"
Trainer Jean-Pierre Gauvin is hoping the prevailing unseasonal rainfall will
end sooner rather than later after his Hong Kong Cup candidate Saonois completed
a lap of the sloppy dirt track on Monday morning.
"That was fast enough on that sort of ground," Gauvin quipped, watching
through binoculars from the trainers' stand as the Group 1 French Derby winner
finished on a very easy canter.
"Saonois traveled very well and never left anything in his feed box -- he's a
pony, really," his trainer added. "Yet I wouldn't like him to be too stiff
tomorrow. I would rather favor the turf in the next few days. He should gallop
on grass tomorrow and on Friday."
Gauvin arrived at Sha Tin last Friday and is staying along with his staff and
the colt's owner Pascal Treyve at the Royal Park hotel near the racecourse.
Coming from a harness racing background, Gauvin is used to covering all angles
of his business, including riding the horses himself, which trainers seldom do.
Much has been said and done since the claimer-turned-classic-winner took the
Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) by storm in June. Yet the horse himself has
not changed much.
"He could have become a bit stronger," Gauvin said, "but he has not grown. I
took his measure the other day and only got him 3 millimeters higher than in the
Spring. To be honest, I think his shoes made the difference!
"I would like the rain to stop to give us a better track (for Sunday). I
worry a bit about that -- it is my job to be worried."
The Queen's Carlton House cantered one circuit of the all-weather track.
Trained by Sir Michael Stoute, last year's beaten Group 1 Derby favorite warmed
up with a fourth in the Ascot race named for his owner, the Group 1 Queen
Elizabeth II, on October 20.
|Carlton House has shipped to the former British colony in search of a Group 1 title
(Hong Kong Jockey Club)
"He's nice and fresh today and we're really pleased with him," travelling
head lass Sarah Denniff said. "Although he lost 20 pounds on the journey here he
has already put most of that back on. We'll probably breeze him on Thursday, and
the trainer will be here by then."
Australian veteran Alcopop, who garnered the Group 1 Mackinnon at Flemington
November 3, also cantered a lap on the all-weather track.
"He's in good shape," trainer Jake Stephens said. "I know there were reports
he lost a lot of weight on the flight, but it was more in the couple of days
after he arrived. He had weight on him which he could afford to lose. He's only
lost what he needed to.
"He's eating up well and he's now close to his ideal racing weight, which is
perfect. He was kicking and squealing this morning which is a good sign.
"This is a strange environment for him but he's 'palled up' with Sea Siren
(Australia's runner in the Sprint) and now he's doing well. He needs the
companion, and I doubt we would have come had he been on his own."
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