With only Wolverhampton surviving the freeze in the UK on Saturday luckily I am all about the Longines Hong Kong International Races for the weekend. It is a huge meeting in the old colony with a few quid on offer over the four big Group One races: The LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (HK$30 million), LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (HK$26 million), LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (HK$24 million) and LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (HK$20 million) are worth a combined HK$100 million.The Longines Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin is one of my favourite meetings of the year, not that I have ever managed to get there, and it isn’t always the luckiest for me, but I do enjoy it. With the prize-money up for grabs it is no surprise many of the big names from around the globe show-up in the old colony. I look forward to it as a little bit of excitement from a faraway land in the middle of the British winter; and how winter has arrived in the last few days! Hong Kong is eight hours ahead of us on the clock so it will be a very early start if you want to watch the races live on Sky Racing as the first of the Group Ones is due off at around 6.10am our time so no lay-in at Triple G Towers this weekend. I am on in the four Group One races nice and early.
Best bets for the Longines Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin
Group One 1m4f LONGINES Hong Kong VaseWith a big cup of coffee and a bacon sandwich in hand I will be plotted up in front of the TV at 6.10am for the first of the four Group One races. The lads from Ballydoyle have thrown a couple of darts at this and Stone Age has to be considered following his good second at the Breeders Cup. Getting a little weight as the only three-year-old in the field stall one has helped his chances and he is the pick at 5-2 with Ryan Moore in the saddle. Two-time winner of this Glory Vase is the big home team hope but hasn't looked as good this year so far.
Group One 6f LONGINES Hong Kong SprintThey line-up for the sprint at 6.50am and this possibly the hardest of the four G.1's. Meikei Yell has been winning races in Japan and looks decent what I have seen but stall 14 hasn't helped her chances. Lucky Sweynesse is the pick for me with hopefully more to come from the four-year-old yet. He won a G.2 over track and trip last time, from a wide draw, with perhaps a bit up his sleeve and stall three here is just about perfect. Zac Purton is doing the steering and I have 7-4.
Group One LONGINES Hong Kong MileFollowing a short break from the G.1 action the Mile is due off at 8.00am. Golden Sixty got the better of California Spangle late-on last time and this looks likely to be run very similar with California Spangle trying to make every yard and Golden Sixty coming late. The seven-year-old should be cherry ripe for this after tat run and is fancied to win G.1 number. I am on at a very short 8-11.
Group One 1m2f LONGINES Hong Kong CupThe last of the big four races is off at 8.40am and with no real European hope it looks as is the big prize will stay home this year. Romantic Warrior is the local star and has just the one defeat to his name. Winner of the Hong Kong Derby last year he appears to still be improving and won the Bochk Jockey Club Cup last month on his seasonal debut with a certain amount of ease. He will surely come on for that run and I have the 13-8 about him to take another big prize.