Leading stayer Dunaden has been added to the field for the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday December 8 after Autumn Gold was withdrawn from the race.
Hong Kong-based Autumn Gold was included in the field for the Hong Kong Vase but has failed to fire this campaign and trainer Sean Woods elected to withdraw the four-year-old after he finished at the tail of the field in the Group 2 Jockey Club Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin last Sunday.
“The intention was to run Autumn Gold in the Vase, but I was disappointed with his run in the trial, so have decided in conjunction with the owners that we will go down a different path with the horse,” Woods told The Hong Kong Jockey Club.
The connections of Dunaden were unable to commit to the Hong Kong Vase as they wanted to see how the seven-year –old ran in the Group 1 Japan Cup (2400m) on Sunday but after his strong performance they were happy to give the son of Nicobar a third crack at the invitation-only race.
Hong Kong Jockey Club Executive Director Of Racing William Nader was delighted that Dunaden was now able to take his spot in the Group 1 event and believes that his inclusion increases the quality of what is already a star-studded field.
“Given the news about Autumn Gold, we are delighted to be able to add a horse of the quality of Dunaden to the Hong Kong Vase,” Nader said.
“Dunaden is a three-time Group 1 winner, an international star and a past winner of the Vase, so it is great that he now has an opportunity to come back and try to reclaim his crown.
“His participation further raises the standard of an already high class Hong Kong International Races day.”
Dunaden won the 2011 edition of the Hong Kong Vase, just over a month after taking out the Melbourne Cup, but failed to fire in last year’s race and finished fifth behind constant rival Red Cadeaux.
The veteran stayer finished eleventh in the Melbourne Cup earlier this month, with connections blaming the top-weight of 58.5kg for his , and he was caught wide in the early stages of the race before flying home late to finish fifth behind champion mare Gentildonna in the Japan Cup on Sunday.
Dunaden’s inclusion means that there will be five horses backing up from the Melbourne Cup in the Hong Kong Vase; with Red Cadeaux, Simenon, Dandino and Mount Athos all included in the final field.