Furore wins the Hong Kong Classic Mile in brilliant fashion for Hugh Bowman and Frankie Lor. Photo by HKJC.


The Hong Kong Classic Mile Reviewed

By Hutchi.



The Classic Mile often provides a good lead for trying to find the Hong Kong Derby winner and this year should be no different, with what appears to be a very, very good set of four-year-olds in the SAR (Special Administrative Region) this season.

The eventual winner Furore, trained by up-and-coming local horseman Frankie Lor, was ultimately a dominating winner of this year’s edition and it was a sizzling performance. Obviously, Hugh Bowman incurred the wrath of the stewards (suspended for three Hong Kong days and fined HKD 75,000) following the victory where he caused some significant interference to a number of runners, but there was still plenty to like about the win of Australian import Furore. Overall on face value, Australian imports have fared very well in this key lead up with Mission Tycoon (second) and Dark Dream (fourth) with three of the first four past the post.


Furore takes the Hong Kong Classic Mile in impressive fashion.

The race-shape was interesting for this edition, with a steady “lead-speed” set from the 800m to 400m, before a dash home where the final sectional was clocked in 22.81. Considering the field didn’t really bunch with this steady tempo around the home turn, it upgrades the efforts of those coming from back in the field. Furore had the most economical run of those coming from worse than midfield, with Dark Dream spending the first-600m coming back to find cover and then settling three wide. So given the tempo, I believe Ka Ying Star and Mission Tycoon were suited which may have flattered their efforts. That said, Mission Tycoon had his momentum halted at a key stage in the home straight and for a galloper like him who likes to bowl along, that was far from ideal. 

Furore hadn’t really lived up to his best Australian form, which saw him finish third to D’Argento in The Rosehill Guineas Gr.1, but on his third Hong Kong start and ridden with more patience in The Classic Mile he was outstanding. On the back of an even tempo, he quickened with a race-best 22.25 final-400m which bodes well for his future considering he will be even better suited to the Derby trip of 2,000m. He is right in the game and a leading contender.

Hugh Bowman spoke to the HKJC post-race and revealed that he shared similar pre-race thoughts to me that queried whether Furore would be sharp enough over 1600m. Ultimately, even though he was surprised, it was the perfect kind!

“I sat on him last week and certainly wouldn’t have expected him to show that sort of turn-of-foot over this distance against this opposition,” Bowman said. “He worked like he’d run well at a mile but I had my doubts that he could win at this class at the mile.

“I thought, that being the case, I wanted to ride him a bit more conservatively than he was last start, just to get him a confidence-boosting run heading towards the Derby. He was here on a Derby pass and judging by how he performed this afternoon it puts him in very good stead for the 2000-metre course.”


Connections of Furore celebrate their Group One success. Photo by HKJC.


Stick with Dark Dream

All that said about Furore, one cant help but think Dark Dream was the run of the race. From a wide gate, he was taken back a lot further than he could have settled from a decent draw and after covering ground and copping a hefty bump, he ran on very well indeed (22.38 final-400m) to finish fourth. He can settle much closer, has already been proven over the Hong Kong Derby course and distance (2000m) and should he draw a favourable barrier in the main event, he is clearly the horse to beat.

Harmony Victory was arguably almost as good a run as Dark Dream in defeat given he closed with final-400m of 22.37 and that was after being more severely hampered by the interference. It would appear Harmony Victory is clearly better when ridden colder and the Brazilian import is already proven over 2,000m.

Prior to the event, I was very keen on Superich but given the tempo and the run he endured, one has to conclude he doesn’t see out the mile. (Note, he did loose a plate during the running of the race). He hasn’t had the rub of the green this season but there were no excuses this time.

Mr So And So was keen and interfered with through the early stages, so he gets one more chance, even though John Size queried his Hong Kong Derby credentials pre-race.

Charity Go was also hampered early but ultimately his effort was just even overall.

Green Luck closed quite well from back in the field and there was some merit to his effort. The likes of Heavenly Thought, Tigre Du Terre and Packing Warrior all have plenty to find on what we have seen so far.

The next leg of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series is the Hong Kong Classic Cup on February 17, with the Hong Kong Derby four weeks later on March 17.