The 2014 Hong Kong Mile barrier draw may have opened up the race after dominant favourite Able Friend drew towards the outside of the field for the Group 1 event that will be held at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Able Friend stamped himself as a clear favourite for the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile (1600m) when he recorded a dominant two and a half lengths win in the Group 2 Jockey Club Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on November 23, but his odds are set to lengthen after he drew barrier 11 this afternoon.
While on face value the wide Hong Kong Mile barrier draw would appear to decrease the winning chances of Able Friend, records show that the 1600 metre circuit at Sha Tin is generally very even and horses jumping from barrier 11 have a winning strike rate of 8 percent, which is superior to barriers two, three, five, six and seven.
Glorious Days jumped from barrier 13 to win the 2013 edition of the Hong Kong Mile and has been allocated the superior barrier seven for this year’s race.
The Hussonet gelding has not recorded a race win in his three subsequent starts and he will be going into the Hong Kong Mile first-up after finishing fourth in the Group 1 The Champions Mile (1600m) in May and sixth in the Group 1 Yasuda Kinen (1609m) at Tokyo on June 8.
There is no Australian-trained runner in the 2014 Hong Kong Mile, but Japanese mare Hana’s Goal had three race starts during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival earlier this year and will jump from barrier three in the Group 1 event.
Hana’s Goal failed to fire in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 22, but she produced an improved performance when sixth in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 12 before scoring an impressive win in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at the same venue on April 26.
The Orewa Matteruze mare failed to fire in both the Group 1 Sprinters Stakes (1206m) and Group 2 Jockey Club Mile (1600m) this preparation to date, but on her day is capable of running very fast closing sectionals and finishing over the top of her rivals.
Other key 2014 Hong Kong Mile barrier draws include 2013 Hong Kong Mile runner-up Gold-Fun (barrier six), Japanese hope Grand Prix Boss (barrier ten), veteran gelding Ambitious Dragon (barrier nine), Deep Impact entire Fiero (barrier one), Roger Charlton-trained Captain Cat (barrier eight), Breeders Cup Mile placegetter Trade Storm (barrier five), World Ace (barrier four) and Secret Sham (barrier two).