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Highland Reel on course for Hong Kong Vase defence

23 Nov 2016

Globetrotting four-year-old could face dual Goodwood Cup hero Big Orange

Highland Reel won the King George at Ascot in July. Picture:

Highland Reel will spearhead a string of British Champions Series stars set to contest the Hong Kong International Races on December 11.

This year’s all-the-way King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner will seek to become only the third dual winner of the Longines Hong Kong Vase in the race’s 22-year history. Luso (1996 and 1997) and Doctor Dino (2007 and 2008) are the pair he will attempt to emulate.

The globetrotting four-year-old provided Aidan O’Brien with his first success in Hong Kong when triumphant 12 months ago.

Highland Reel is the world’s most widely-travelled top-class racehorse of recent times – and certainly the most successful globe-trotter currently in action.

The Galileo colt has contested 14 races at the highest level in seven international jurisdictions in the past 18 months – winning four and finishing runner-up to JuddmonteInternational Stakes (to Postponed) in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (behind Found).

His opposition in the Hong Kong Vase is set to include Big Orange, the dual Goodwood Cup winner, who finished tenth in the Melbourne Cup before finishing a close third in the Zipping Classic on his latest start.

Profitable, winner of the the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, and Growl, runner-up in the British Champions Sprint Stakes on Champions Day at Ascot, are set to run in the Longines Hong Kong Sprint.

The French-trained Signs Of Blessing, third in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and fourth in the British Champions Sprint Stakes, is another on course for that prize.