English stayer Sea Moon is back to full fitness following a travel scare heading into Sunday’s Group 1 HK$15m Longines Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin.
Sea Moon didn’t travel very good from England to Hong Kong but trainer Sir Michael Stoute has reported that the four year old is back on his feed and putting weight back on.
“He is picking up now and putting his weight back on gradually,” Stoute said.
Stoute says that Sea Moon should be the horse to beat on his English form but was disappointed with his latest effort when eighth to Solemia in the Group 1 €4m QATAR Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe (1 mile 4 furlongs) at Longchamp, France on October 7 on a heavy track.
Stoute is putting that failure down to the wet track and is going on Sea Moon’s win in the Group 2 £200,000 Hardwicke Stakes (1 mile 4 furlongs) at Royal Ascot on June 23 as the best guide for Sunday.
“On his Hardwicke stakes form he is the horse to beat but that was in June. If he’s in similar form, yes, a big chance but that was long time ago,” Stoute said.
“He was disappointing last time in the Arc in Paris. I think and I hope it was the ground which was really soft. He’s a beautifully actioned horse, he really stretches and flows and that ground didn’t suit him.”
Stoute describes Sea Moon as a similar type of racehorse as his 2000 Hong Kong Vase winner Daliapour and Spanish Moon who was runner-up to Daryakana in the 2009 Vase and should get a the perfect run for Ryan Moore from barrier three.
“He would be a similar type of horse to Daliapour or Spanish Moon. He’s in there with shot, but it is probably a stronger race all round than it was in either of those runnings,” Stoute said.
“The inside draw is important for him. He doesn’t want to be too far back on a track like this. We want to be positive with him.”
Top Australian jockey Craig Williams who is riding last year’s Hong Kong Vase winner Dunaden agrees with Stoute that Sea Moon is the horse to beat after running second in the Hardwicke on the French stayer.
“We should have been much, much closer in the Hardwicke, sure, but I don’t think my horse has ever beaten Sea Moon so I can’t be totally confident we would have then – he’s the horse to beat,” Williams said.
Dunaden heads the betting in the Hong Kong Vase at $3.50 just in front of Sea Moon at $4 with French galloper Meandre next in line at $6 followed by the Great Britain trained Dancinng Rain at $7.50 and Red Cadeaux at $12.