Beauty Generation wins the 2017 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile. Photo by HKJC.


World stars entered for the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races


HKJC Release.



World class talent is front and centre in this year’s first stage entries for the HK$93 million LONGINES Hong Kong International Races, with 67 G1 winners among the 262 nominations revealed today, Wednesday, 24 October.

An exciting array of 191 individual horses accounts for the total number of nominations to the four Group 1 contests on Sunday, 9 December, with 70 horses holding entries in more than one race.

The LONGINES Hong Kong International Races is a highly-coveted quartet of outstanding championship races and each contest will offer record prize money this year. The G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) is worth HK$28 million, an increase of HK$3 million; the LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m) has had its purse upped to HK$25 million; and the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) and LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m) are now worth HK$20 million apiece.

Japan’s incredible filly Almond Eye is among the host of top-class nominations. Trainer Sakae Kunieda’s brilliant three-year-old recently completed Japan’s Fillies’ Triple Crown and is unbeaten this year from a mile to 2400m. She holds entries for the LONGINES Hong Kong Cup and LONGINES Hong Kong Mile.

Others to note are the French big-hitters Cloth Of Stars, Waldgeist and Talismanic from the powerful André Fabre stable; North America’s exhilarating pair Mind Your Biscuits and Imperial Hint; Japan’s standout speedster Fine Needle, crack miler Mozu Ascot and 2016 Japanese Derby winner Makahiki; Ireland’s big name G1 winners Mendelssohn, Kew Gardens, Capri and Latrobe; recent Longchamp winner One Master and Godolphin’s Blair House; and an exciting batch of Hong Kong’s own star racers, including last year’s victors Beauty Generation (Mile), Time Warp (Cup) and Mr Stunning (Sprint).

Australia is also well-represented, with 24 horses in the 2018 nominations notwithstanding the Australian government’s current ban on horse movements from Hong Kong to Australia. Australia’s significant number of entries – seven more than in 2017 – features 15 G1 winners, including the three-time top-flight scorer Trapeze Artist, the world’s second-best turf sprinter according to the LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings.

The Hong Kong contingent numbers 44 this time against 147 horses nominated from overseas.

Mr. Andrew Harding, Executive Director, Racing, at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, said: “It is very pleasing to see such exciting quality among the nominations for this year’s LONGINES Hong Kong International Races, which is long-established as one of the global sport’s truly great events. This year we have attracted entries from 67 individual G1 winners – eight more than in 2017 – and among those we have bill-topping international stars of the highest calibre.

“Hong Kong in December is a destination that appeals to the world’s great horsemen and that is borne out by the fact that we have entries from 12 jurisdictions, with many of the world’s most prominent trainers and owners looking to end their year on a high at Sha Tin in four career-defining races.”


LONGINES Hong Kong Cup

Japanese Fillies’ Triple Crown heroine Almond Eye and last year’s winner Time Warp head the 73 nominations for the 2018 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m).

Japan’s candidates also include Neorealism, winner of the QEII Cup at the course and distance in April 2017, last year’s G1 Shuka Sho heroine Deirdre, and Makahiki, while Hong Kong fans will also be looking out for rising star Glorious Forever, the impressive winner of a Class 2 handicap at Sha Tin last Sunday and a full-brother to Time Warp. Also aiming for the event’s principal feature is Hong Kong’s former Horse of the Year Werther.

Blair House landed the G1 Jebel Hatta in March and was runner-up to Benbatl in a G1 at Caulfield last time out.

Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien has entered G1 winners Mendelssohn and Rhododendron. The Ballydoyle team could also saddle G1 Irish Derby second Rostropovich, Magic Wand, a G1 runner-up at her last two starts, and recent G2 Herbert Power Stakes winner Yucatan.


LONGINES Hong Kong Mile

Beauty Generation has gone from strength to strength since winning this race last year and is currently the world’s equal top-rated active miler on turf according to the LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings.

Hong Kong’s Horse of the Year will face stiff opposition again in December, though. The 75 horses nominated include a particularly strong contingent from Japan: Mozu Ascot and Aerolithe were first and second in the G1 Yasuda Kinen in June and the latter returned earlier this month with a G2 win.

Vivlos won the G1 Dubai Turf for Japan in March 2017 and could line up at Sha Tin for her career swansong; Jour Polaire, meanwhile, won the G1 Victoria Mile in May, a race Admire Lead landed in 2017; Keiai Nautique won the G1 NHK Mile Cup at Tokyo in May.

From Europe, the William Haggas-trained One Master landed the G1 Prix de la Foret last time while the Freddy Head-trained Polydream won the G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest in August.


LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint

The John Size-trained Mr Stunning won the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) for Hong Kong last year but was beaten to the season’s champion sprinter title by his stablemate at the time, Ivictory. That pair will have to contend with rising star Hot King Prawn this time around after the grey’s impressive G2 Premier Bowl win at the weekend. Last year’s runner-up D B Pin will be looking to go one place better. The race has attracted 45 nominations.

Japan’s best sprinter Fine Needle was fourth to Ivictory on his first visit to Sha Tin for the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize in April but appeared a stronger specimen when storming up the Nakayama hill to win the G1 Sprinters Stakes last month.

American star Mind Your Biscuits has won the last two editions of the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen (1200m) on the dirt at Meydan and scored over 1800m at Churchill Downs last month. He holds three first-choice entries in the Sprint, the Mile and the Cup. Fellow US speedster Imperial Hint impressed when taking the G1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga in July and looked even better when winning the G1 Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont last month.

Coolmore’s G1 July Cup winner US Navy Flag, unable to shine on heavy going in The Everest last time at Randwick, has also been entered.

The top-class Trapeze Artist looks to be the pick of the Australian entries, which also feature G1 winners Santa Ana Lane and In Her Time.


LONGINES Hong Kong Vase

The O’Brien camp won the 2400m feature in 2015 and 2017 with the tremendous Highland Reel. Among the stable’s entries this time are G1 St Leger winner Kew Gardens and last year’s G1 Irish Derby hero Capri.

Trainer Joseph O’Brien has this season’s G1 Irish Derby winner Latrobe among the 69 nominations.

The Fabre stable has nominated G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe third Cloth Of Stars, as well as fellow G1 winner Waldgeist, fourth in that Paris showpiece. Fabre’s G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Talismanic was runner-up to Highland Reel last year and he has been entered too.

Dermot Weld has entered the high-class filly Eziyra, third in the G1 Yorkshire Oaks this term, for the Vase and the Cup. And Britain’s recent G1 Canadian International winner Desert Encounter also holds an entry.

Hong Kong’s champion stayer Pakistan Star is expected to lead the home defence, which could also feature his Tony Cruz-trained stablemate Exultant.

Japan’s Satono Crown held off Highland Reel to win in 2016 and could line up, along with G1-winning compatriot Mozu Katchan.

LONGINES Hong Kong Cup
LONGINES Hong Kong Mile
LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint
LONGINES Hong Kong Vase