Chris Waller’s multiple Group 1 winner Shoot Out and New Zealand veteran King Mufhasa are the only Australasian acceptors for the Group 1 Champions Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on May 5.
Neither are confirmed starters but both certainly have the form to warrant the Hong Kong trip.
Shoot Out will carry the topweight of 58kg in Saturday’s $2 million Doncaster Mile after some impressive lead-up results.
The five-time Group 1 winner took out the Chipping Norton Stakes first-up before running third to Doncaster favourite Pierro in the George Ryder Stakes.
Second in the George Ryder was King Mufhasa who has clearly benefited from surgery to fix an entrapped epiglottis.
The eight-year-old faded to finish 10th at his previous start but in the George Ryder he led for the majority of the race, only to be run down by Pierro in the dying stages.
King Mufhasa has raced 60 times, scoring 20 victories including two Australian Group 1s and a further eight in the top grade in New Zealand.
Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Executive Director of Racing William Nader said the inclusion of the proven top-liners adds extra intrigue to the race.
“The strong Australian form of King Mufhasa and Shoot Out will test the Hong Kong defence,” Nader said.
“We have an elite contest befitting the race’s standing as one of the top 50 Group 1 races in the world.”
Among the local hopes the pair will have to overcome are defending champion Xtension and reigning Hong Kong horse of the year Ambitious Dragon.
The John Moore-trained Xtension is aiming for a third consecutive win in the race while Ambitious Dragon will be out to turn the tables after running fourth last year.
Ambitious Dragon, a seven-time Group 1 winner, was last seen winning he Group 1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) by 2 1/2 lengths last month.