3 minute read
Arthur Cooper takes a look at the main contenders in this year's Group 1 Hong Kong Cup.
The Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Cup will see two proven Group 1 performers pitted against three progressive horses looking for a maiden victory at the top level, all proven over the distance.
Facing a short run to the first turn adds to the challenge for those drawn wide. This year, four of the five key chances Luxembourg (10), Romantic Warrior (7), Prognosis (6) and Rousham Park (11) are drawn mid to outside, whilst Horizon Doré has drawn the inside gate.
Defending champion Romantic Warrior built on his success in this race twelve months ago when he won the QEII Cup in April before travelling to Melbourne and landing the Group 1 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley, thereby creating history in that race and for Hong Kong. His record reads five wins from six race starts over course and distance, with his only defeat being in the Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup in May. Romantic Warrior sets the standard.
A three-time Group 1 winner in England and Ireland, Luxembourg looks to hold major claims. Trained by Aidan O'Brien, he won the Irish Championship Stakes in 2022 over ten furlongs, this year's ten-and-a-half-furlong Tattersalls Gold Cup in May and finished second in the Irish Champions Stakes. Luxembourg was originally scheduled to race in the British Championship Stakes in October, but a minor injury prevented his participation. That said, a trip to Hong Kong was always the plan.
French gelding Horizon Doré receives a three-year-old weight allowance from his older rivals. Winner of six of his nine starts, he won four black-type races in succession, two at Group 2 level and last time finished third in the British Champions Stakes at Ascot. He handles all types of surfaces and will often look to finish with one long sustained run.
Japan's record of victories in the race continues to grow having produced five of the last eight winners. Two horses from the land of the rising sun will line up on Sunday and whilst both are yet to win a Group 1 race, they must be considered.
Prognosis' last start third in the Tenno Sho Autumn at Tokyo had the form franked with winner Equinox subsequently brilliantly victorious in the Japan Cup two weeks ago. Prognosis is a four-time winner over the journey and now has his opportunity for a maiden Group 1 win. Rousham Park is yet to race at Group 1 level but does have three wins and two second placing's over the distance. He arrives as a last-start eleven-furlong Group 2 winner at Nakayama in September.
Selection - LUXEMBOURG