Trainer Lionel Cohen may be forced to change his plans with classy sprinter Aeronautical; with the five-year-old yet to receive an invitation to contest the Group 1 Hong Kong International Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on December 8.
The Hong Kong Sprint is an invitation only event that is limited to fourteen runners but Cohen was confident that Aeronautical would get the call-up and based his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival plans on his star galloper contesting the prestigious race.
The cut-off for invitations is this Thursday and Cohen remains hopeful that Aeronautical will receive an invitation but admits that is now looking increasingly unlikely.
“I’m still waiting to hear from Hong Kong and I’m still hopeful but not as hopeful as I was,” Cohen told AAP.
“The deadline is Thursday but I think they may put one of the local horses in.”
Aeronautical started his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a narrow defeat to Sessions in the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) before finishing a disappointing ninth in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) and it is the loss to Sessions which Cohen believes may keep the son of Encosta De Lago out of the Hong Kong International Race Day.
“His rating is a touch low and he had to win the Shorts to guarantee an invitation,” Cohen said.
“I thought he had won and when I saw the photo I thought it should have been a dead heat.”
Cohen will clearly be bitterly disappointed if Aeronautical is unable to make his international racing debut next month but suggested that the Group 1 placegetter would contest the Listed Starlight Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on November 30, if he is forced to remain in Australia.
He would then likely be sent to the spelling paddock before returning to the races for the 2014 Autumn Racing Carnival; with races like the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) in Melbourne and the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) in Sydney on the agenda.
“He could have one or two runs in the summer then have a short break and get ready for the autumn,” Cohen said.
“But I wanted to go to Hong Kong because it’s the right year to do it.
“There doesn’t seem to be the depth of sprinters there that there has been in the past.”
Aeronautical is yet to record a win at Group 1 level but finished third behind Shamexpress and Moment Of Change in the 2013 Newmarket Handicap.