Stellar nominations for the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races

A total of 68 international Group 1 winners are among the 241 horses nominated for the four LONGINES Hong Kong International Races, worth a total of HK$72 million, which are to be held at Sha Tin Racecourse on Sunday, 8 December.


The outstanding list of nominations features 12 of the Top 50 horses from the latest LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, including the outstanding French racemare Moonlight Cloud. Also among the stellar nominations are the brilliant British fillies The Fugue and Sky Lantern, crack European miler Olympic Glory, Breeders’ Cup Turf hero Little Mike, G1 stalwart Cirrus Des Aigles and Hong Kong champion Military Attack.


The G1 extravaganza consists of the HK$22 million LONGINES Hong Kong Cup over 2,000 metres (95 nominations), the HK$20 million LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (101 nominations), the 1,200m HK$15 million LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (61 nominations) and the 2,400m HK$15 million LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (79 nominations). A total of 95 horses have been nominated for two races.


The nominees for this year’s edition of the Turf World Championships represent 19 countries and regions as compared to 13 in 2012.


LONGINES Hong Kong Mile-bound Moonlight Cloud is one of the best sprinter/milers of recent times in Europe and has notched six wins in G1 company up to a mile. Most recently, the Freddy Head-trained five-year-old slammed a top-class field with a blistering last-to-first burst to capture the G1 Prix de la Foret at Longchamp.


“Moonlight Cloud is very well and we intend to run her in the Hong Kong Mile,” said Head, whose outstanding mare is unbeaten in four starts this year. “She seems to be getting better with every run, and although the race is late in the year, she is very fresh and I am very happy that she is as well as she was during the summer.


“For the moment she is in half work, but in two weeks she will start her preparation and then we will probably ship her to Hong Kong a week before the race. I think the race is good for her.”


Hong Kong hero California Memory has made the LONGINES Hong Kong Cup his own for the past two years. Tony Cruz’s stable star leads a strong home team that includes Hong Kong Horse of the Year Military Attack, winner of this year’s G1 Audemars Piguet QEII Cup at the course and distance and the G1 Singapore Airlines International Cup.


Also nominated for the LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (as well as the Vase) are the top English filly The Fugue and crack French gelding Cirrus Des Aigles. The latter was runner-up for the second year running in the G1 Champion Stakes at Ascot recently, a race which he won in 2011. Corine Barande-Barbe’s seven-year-old has competed at three of the last four Hong Kong International Races and was only withdrawn on the eve of last year’s event due to a setback.


“Cirrus Des Aigles has come out of Ascot very well and is likely to go for the Hong Kong Cup,” said Barande-Barbe.


“He was very well after the race at Ascot and when he went to the vets he was bucking and singing. As usual, he has been getting better and better from race to race this season and I think the real Cirrus Des Aigles is back.


“He has been a bit unlucky when he has gone to Hong Kong in the past. The first time in the Hong Kong Vase, he was not mature enough, but still ran a good race to finish fifth. He was caught wide with Stacelita in the Cup and then the next year he got boxed in, but wasn’t beaten far on both occasions. Hopefully, we will get better luck this year and we are going there to get some revenge.”


Sky Lantern, the winner of Britain’s G1 1,000 Guineas for trainer Richard Hannon, has caught the imagination of racing fans this season with three wins at the highest level, and has been nominated for both the Cup and the Mile.


Meanwhile, Japan’s Lord Kanaloa is in line to defend his title in the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint. He won the G1 Yasuda Kinen at a mile in June and won the G1 Sprinters Stakes back at 1200m last time. Trainer Takayuki Yasuda has also nominated the LONGINES Hong Kong Mile but is leaning towards the Sprint, in which he could meet Hong Kong’s 2011 winner Lucky Nine, England’s G1 Nunthorpe Stakes heroine Jwala, and the Irish pair of Sole Power and Slade Power. Lucky Nine, runner-up recently in the G1 Manikato Stakes at MooneeValley in Australia, is the equal top-rated active sprinter in the world according to the LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings.


Red Cadeaux is slated to return to the scene of his greatest triumph in last year’s LONGINES Hong Kong Vase and could once again lock horns with Dunaden, who won the 2011 Vase for France after victory in the same year’s Melbourne Cup. The 2400m test is also on the radar for G1 British Champions Fillies & Mares winner Seal Of Approval and G1 Irish St Leger heroine Voleuse De Coeurs.


Mr William A Nader, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Executive Director of Racing, was delighted with the high calibre of the nominations.


“The LONGINES Hong Kong International Races is not only Hong Kong’s premier sports event but also one of world horseracing’s greatest occasions, and a glance down the list of excellent nominations for this year’s event gives a clear indication of that,” said Mr Nader.


“We are pleased to have 12 horses from the world’s top 50 together with the raft of Group 1 winners that have been nominated. The likes of Moonlight Cloud, Lord Kanaloa, Cirrus Des Aigles, and of course Hong Kong’s very own heroes Lucky Nine, California Memory and Military Attack, are big name draws on any day. Their planned participation vindicates our assertion that the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin in December really is The Turf World Championships.”


A host of other international stars are among the nominations including Ireland’s G1 winners Declaration Of War and Gordon Lord Byron – fourth in last year’s LONGINES Hong Kong Mile and since winner of the G1 Sprint Cup (1200m) at HaydockPark – and fellow Mile nominees from France, Flotilla, Havana Gold, and Maxios.


For full lists of nominations for all races, please go to:


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