Series stars seek more riches in Hong Kong
9 Dec 2016
Highland Reel, Big Orange, Growl and Signs Of Blessing set for action on Sunday
Signs Of Blessing, pictured working this week, will have to overcome a “catastrophic” draw.
Four horses who made an impact in the this year’s QIPCO British Champions Series will seek to enhance their reputations in the Hong Kong International Races on Sunday.
Spearheading the quartet are Highland Reel and Big Orange, who will clash in the Longines Hong Kong Vase.
Highland Reel, who won the QIPCO-sponsored King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes before finishing runner-up to Postponed in the Juddmonte International Stakes, is a best-priced 11-10 favourite to win the race for a second successive year despite a widish draw in ten.
The globetrotter has pleased connections since his arrival in Hong Kong, with Pat Keating, travelling head lad for trainer Aidan O’Brien, saying: “Davy Bergin [work rider] is very happy with him, and that goes for me too.”
Big Orange, the dual Qatar Goodwood Cup winner, is a 12-1 chance. Trainer Michael Bell said on Thursday: “He’s very fit and we don’t need to do much with him so he won’t be breaking any land speed records before Sunday. Anyhow, I’m very pleased with him.”
Growl and Signs Of Blessing, runner-up and fourth respectively to The Tin Man in the QIPCO British Champions Sprint, are big outsiders for the Longines Hong Kong Sprint after being drawn wide.
French raider Signs Of Blessing, who was also runner-up in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes this summer, is berhed widest of all and trainer Francois Rohaut said: “It is a catastrophe. And on top of that, all the Hong Kong horses are drawn on the inside.”
Richard Fahey, trainer of Growl, said: “Growl ran easily the best race of his life at Ascot and then when doing what he had to do to win at Doncaster last time – sprinters winning is good for their confidence.
“When I saw the photo of him arriving off the plane in Hong Kong I thought he looked a bit light, but now I’ve seen him here I think he’s looking grand. He trains himself and is an absolute star.”