With the withdrawal of the favourites Sea Moon and the worlds second best horse Cirrus Des Aigles, Her Majesty the Queen’s Carlton House will lead the strong European challenge at Sha Tin
Sir Michael Stoute’s Carlton House has an attractive record at the middle distances and with the withdrawal of the second highest rated horse in the world Cirrus Des Aigles will lead the European challenge for the Hong Kong Cup. Tried recently at shorter distances he will return to what appears to be his favoured trip but the two French challengers are not without chances too (Giofra and Saonois). With this being his last race for Sir Michael, Crockford believes he looks well placed to leave the yard on a high before joining Gail Waterhouse down under.
The defection of Sea Moon from the Hong Kong Vase leaves the field still dominated by the Europeans. Dunaden will be the likely favourite but Crockford prefers another French horse Meandre who showed excellent form earlier this season. The globetrotting Joshua Tree for Marco Botti and Dandino for Fanshawe could run well at big prices, but the real value is the Oaks winning filly Dancing Rain who pleased connections on her seasonal reappearance on QIPCO Champions Day. Quoted with firms in some places at 7/1 she certainly looks good each way value.
The Hong Kong Mile has also attracted some interesting European entries including the Irish challenger Gordon Lord Byron and William Haggas’s Master of Hounds. Crockford’s eye has been caught though by the Sun Chariot and EP Taylor winning Siyouma for Doumen and Mosse. The French filly will have to take on the impressive and highly regarded local talent Ambitious Dragon who has reported started the day a little lame and may actually be withdrawn.
Crockford’s selections for the Hong Kong prizes:
Hong Kong Vase – Dancing Rain e/w (6.00 am)
Hong Kong Mile – Siyouma e/w (7.50am)
Hong Kong Cup – Carlton House (8.30am)
Crockford would not be surprised if that by the end of breakfast tomorrow morning that the Europeans have had a clean sweep of the prizes with a Royal celebration to top off the morning.
(Featured Photograph – Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore on QIPCO Champions Day by Stuart Rice)
(Photograph – Dancing Rain before the start on QIPCO Champions Day 2012 by Stuart Rice)