Flintshire is set to start the 2014 Hong Kong Vase as a clear favourite after he drew ideally in barrier four for the Group 1 event that will be held at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Flintshire has not recorded a race win since he took out the Group 1 Juddmonte Grand Prix De Paris (2400m) at Longchamp in July of last year, but he has been one of the most consistent performers of the 2014 Northern Hemisphere racing season.
The Dansili entire started his season with a second place finish behind Cirrus Des Aigles in the Group 1 Coronation Cup (2423m) at Epsom Downs on June 7 and produced the worst performance of his campaign when fifth in the Group 1 Grand Prix De Saint-Cloud (2400m) on June 29.
Flintshire was beaten as a short-priced favourite when second in the Group 2 Prix Foy ( 2400m) on September 14, but he produced arguably the best performance of his career when second behind Treve in the Group 1 Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe (2400m) and was second again in the Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf (2413m).
Red Cadeaux is without a doubt the most popular horse in the 2014 Hong Vase field, but will need a bit of luck to record his second win in the race after drawing awkwardly in barrier nine.
The Cadeaux Genereux gelding will be having his fourth start in the Hong Kong Vase, having finished no worse than third in his previous tilts at the race, and is taking excellent form into the Group 1 event following his brave second behind Protectionist in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 4.
John Moore-trained Dominant is chasing his second straight win in the Hong Kong Vase and his chances of joining Luso (1996 and 1997) and Doctor Dino (2007 and 2008) as the only back-to-back winners of race were enhanced when he was allocated barrier two.
Dominant has been unable to record a win since his Hong Kong Vase victory and he has failed to fire in the Group 3 The Celebration Cup (1400m), Group 2 Sha Tin Trophy (1600m) and Group 2 Jockey Club Cup (2000m) this preparation, but will be suited by the step-up in trip to 2400 metres.
The big loser of the 2014 Hong Kong Vase barrier draw was German hopeful Empoli, who will jump from the outside gate this weekend.
Empoli has been an inconsistent performer throughout his racing career, but he finished fourth in the Group 1 Sheema Classic (2410m) at Meydan earlier this year and he took out the Group 1 Preis Von Europa (2413m) in Germany before making the trip to Hong Kong.
Other key Hong Kong Vase barrier draws include Curren Mirotic (barrier seven), Bubble Chic (barrier nine), Parish Hall (barrier ten), Willie Cazals (barrier three), Rainbow Chic (barrier one), Khaya (barrier 11) and Wayfoong Express (barrier five)