There is no Australian representative in the 2014 Hong Kong Mile field, but there is still set to be plenty of interest in the Group 1 event at Sha Tin on Saturday after a number of talented gallopers were included in the entries.
Glorious Days took out the 2013 edition of the Hong Kong Mile and he has been set for a first-up tilt at this year’s race after he finished sixth behind Just A Way in the 2014 edition of the Group 1 Yasuda Kinen (1609m) at Tokyo on June 8.
History is against Glorious Days as no horse has won the Hong Kong Mile in back-to-back years since champion gelding Good Ba Ba won the Group 1 event in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Ambitious Dragon took out the Hong Kong Mile in 2012 and he will receive another crack at the race after missing out on the chance to defend his title after missing last year’s race due to injury.
The Pins gelding returned to racing with a close third behind Military Attack and Gold Fun in the Group 2 Sha Tin Trophy (1600m) on October 26 and was far from disgraced when third in the Group 2 Jockey Club Mile (1600m) at Sha Tina last Saturday.
The Jockey Club Mile was taken out by Able Friend in impressive fashion and the John Moore-trained gelding is set to start the Hong Kong Mile as a clear favourite.
Able Friend won the Group 1 Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m) during the autumn before finishing second in the Group 1 Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m), Group 1 Hong Kong Derby (2400m) and Group 1 Champions Mile (1600m) and he returned to racing with a promising fourth in the Group 2 The Premier Bowl (1200m) on October 26 before his Jockey Club Mile win.
Japan is set to have a very strong hand in the Hong Kong Mile after Fiero, Grand Prix Boss, Hana’s Goal and World Ace were included in the entries for the Group 1 event.
Hana’s Goal failed to fire in the Jockey Club Mile, but is capable of producing impressive performances when she has a race run to suit and showed the Australian racing public what she is capable off when she recorded an impressive win in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 26.
Grand Prix Boss has recorded two victories at Group 1 level in Japan, while both Fiero and World Ace have been very competitive at the highest level of racing.
European-trained gallopers have a poor record in the Hong Kong Mile, but Captain Cat and Trade Storm have both been set for a tilt at the prestigious race.
Roger Charlton-trained Captain Cat, who took out the Group 3 Sovereign Stakes and Group 3 Superior Mile in England this season before he finished fifth behind Charm Spirit in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (1600m) at Ascot on October 18.
Trade Storm has travelled right around the world in the past 12 months and he is taking strong form into the race after taking out the Group 1 Woodbine Mile Stakes in Canada on September 14 before finishing a close third in the Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita on November 1.