2019 Longines Hong Kong International Races – Tips for the four Group One races on Sunday morning

Sha Tin racecourse in Hong KongSha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong

Get Brian Healy's selections for the four Group One races taking place during the top-class Longines Hong Kong International Races fixture at Sha Tin.

Some top-class horse racing action goes to post in the early hours of Sunday UK time, as Hong Kong’s Sha Tin racecourse stages four valuable Group One races.

Early birds can catch the latest renewal of the Longines Hong Kong Vase at 5.40am, with the Longines Hong Kong Sprint heading to post forty minutes later.

After a short interlude for a competitive handicap contest, the Group One racing recommences with the Longines Hong Kong Mile at 7.30am; with the Longines Hong Kong Cup completing the Group One action at 8.10am.

5:40 – Longines Hong Kong Vase (Group 1) (3yo+) (Course A) (Turf) (3yo+) 1m4f
6:20 – Longines Hong Kong Sprint (Group 1) (3yo+) (Course A) (Turf) (3yo+) 6f
7:30 – Longines Hong Kong Mile (Group 1) (3yo+) (Course A) (Turf) (3yo+) 1m
8:10 – Longines Hong Kong Cup (Group 1) (3yo+) (Course A) (Turf) (3yo+) 1m2f

Brian Healy assesses the Group One action at Sha Tin, where he gives his race-by-race selections for all four top-class races on Sunday morning.

5:40 – Longines Hong Kong Vase (Group 1) (3yo+) (Course A) (Turf) (3yo+) 1m4f

Japanese star DEIRDRE (SP) tries this longer trip for just the second time in her career, but the Harbinger mare ought to be competitive having posted a series of solid performances in Europe this term.

Mitsuru Hashida’s charge has form at this venue, finishing runner-up in the 2018 Hong Kong Cup behind Glorious Forever over ten furlongs, and then later finishing sixth to Win Bright in the QEII Cup back in April.

She had finished fourth previously to Almond Eye in the Dubai Turf, and her European exploits yielded a Group One win in the Nassau Stakes before posting good runs in defeat behind Magical in both the Irish Champion Stakes and the Champion Stakes back at Ascot.

She has shaped in recent outings as if a stiffer test might suit, and this additional quarter-mile could unlock some further improvement. With the ground no issue, it isn’t hard to envisage her running a big race under Oisin Murphy and no surprise to see her getting competitive here.

Japanese star Deirdrie can win the Hong Kong Vase on Sunday morning.

6:20 – Longines Hong Kong Sprint (Group 1) (3yo+) (Course A) (Turf) (3yo+) 6f

The ultra-consistent BEAT THE CLOCK (SP) doesn’t know how to run a bad race, and John Size’s charge can get back on the winning trail here.

The Hinchinbrook gelding has finished third or better in all 22 of his career starts, winning eight of them at this venue which includes two Grade One successes this year. He had finished third in this contest twelve months ago behind Mr Stunning, but he gained revenge on that rival when landing the Centenary Sprint Cup back in January.

Following successive runner-up efforts he got back on the winning trail in April when taking the Chairman’s Sprint Prize, and he shaped well on his reapperance behind the reopposing Aethero last month in the Jockey Cup Sprint where he finished third.

Possibly just given too much to do, he should strip fitter for that return and he meets both the winner and runner-up on better terms at the weights having tried to concede weight to both last time; and given his consistency he should be competitive again and every chance he can come home in front in this contest.

The consistent Beat The Clock should be competitive again in the  Longines Hong Kong Sprint.

7:30 – Longines Hong Kong Mile (Group 1) (3yo+) (Course A) (Turf) (3yo+) 1m

INDY CHAMP (SP) has won both of the major one mile contests in his native Japan this term, and the Stay Gold colt can add this prize to his collection for Hidetaka Otonashi.

His latest success came in the Grade One Mile Championship at Kyoto where he was impressive in seeing off Danon Premium as he returned to winning ways following a defeat on his reapperance at Tokyo in October.

The Yasuda Kinen winner beat Almond Eye into third when taking the Grade One summer feature at Tokyo in June, and that form has been franked since. He possibly just needed his reappearance, and he showed his well-being latest with that impressive outing where he crossed the line just over one length to the good although he was value for more than the official winning margin.

Assuming he has travelled over well and turns out in this Grade One contest at the peak of his powers then he ought to post a big run, and he can collect this valuable prize under Damien Lane who is an eye-catching jockey booking on board the Japanese star.

Indy Champ can strike for Japan in the Longines Hong Kong Mile.

8:10 – Longines Hong Kong Cup (Group 1) (3yo+) (Course A) (Turf) (3yo+) 1m2f

The defection of Almond Eye from this race throws the doors wide open, and it could be worth siding with French raider EDISA (SP) who arrives here in excellent form having won three of his last six starts which includes a Stateside raid on Belmont Park and the Jockey Club Oaks Invitational Oaks back in September.

A dual-winner in France over the summer, also making the frame in Group company, he followed up his win on US soil by going close in the Group Two Prix Du Conseil De Paris in October where the Kitten’s Joy filly found only Subway Dancer too strong by three-parts of a length.

This is a step up in class, but she is progressive and going the right way, and she may well have further improvement to offer.

Alain Du Royer-Dupre’s charge also gets weight all round from her rivals, and she could take full advantage given she is still relatively unexposed and with both her successes coming at this distance. She has to step up, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her do so, and she could post a big effort at a decent price for backers.

Edisa could win the Longines Hong Kong Cup at a big price.


5:40 Longines Hong Kong Vase – DEIRDRE (SP)

6:20 Longines Hong Kong Sprint – BEAT THE CLOCK (SP)

7:30 Longines Hong Kong Mile – INDY CHAMP (SP)

8:10 Longines Hong Kong Cup – EDISA (SP)