LONGINES Hong Kong International Races draws global turf stars

The 2022 HK$110 million LONGINES Hong Kong International Races has attracted a world-class cast of overseas entrants with 127 elite horses, including 43 individual Group 1 winners, featuring in a stunning collection of contenders for Hong Kong’s flagship meeting at Sha Tin on 11 December.

Japan leads the way with 63 entries, including dual G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m) winner Glory Vase and fellow top-liners Salios, Songline and Panthalassa, while Australia has 15 nominations headed by Nature Strip, the top-ranked sprinter in the LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, The Everest (1200m) winner Giga Kick and Eduardo.

Aidan O’Brien has eight entries, notably G1 Epsom Oaks (2420m) winner Tuesday, Order Of Australia and Broome while Jessica Harrington has nominated G1 Irish Oaks (2414m) victor Magical Lagoon among a glittering combined entry from eight different regions – Japan, Ireland, Australia, Great Britain, France, Germany, the United States and Singapore.

Offering record prize money this year, entries for the four Group 1 features – the HK$34 million G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m), HK$30 million G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m), HK$24 million G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) and HK$22 million G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m), Hong Kong entries for LONGINES HKIR was closed on 24 October.

Impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years, the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races continued under a closed loop system which allowed overseas-trained horses to successfully compete, including Japanese stars Loves Only You, Glory Vase and Danon Smash and Ireland’s Mogul.

The strength of this year’s international entry is evidenced by the might of a phenomenal Japanese contingent, which has risen from 40 in 2021 to 63 this year, and features 17 individual Group 1 winners including LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint aspirants Gendarme and Naran Huleg, crack milers Salios, Songline and Schnell Meister, Geoglyph and outstanding stayers Glory Vase – the 2019 and 2021 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase champion – Dubai Turf dead-heater Panthalassa and 2021 G1 Tokyo Yushun (2400m) winner Shahryar and winner of G1 Shuka Sho (2000m) Stunning Rose.

Australia’s contingent also includes G1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) winner Durston, G1 Australian Cup (2000m) winner Duais as well as fellow Group 1 victors Eduardo, Mr Brightside and September Run – and freshly-minted The Everest star Giga Kick, who downed Royal Ascot G1 King’s Stand Stakes (1006m) conqueror Nature Strip at Randwick.

G1 British Champions Sprint Stakes (1200m) winner Kinross, who is raced by Hong Kong owner Marc Chan, heads the British representation and Ralph Beckett’s speedster has been entered in both the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint and LONGINES Hong Kong Mile. Raced by Boniface Ho, G1 Melbourne Cup entrant Deauville Legend is also part of a powerful British entry along with Saffron Beach, Emaraaty Ana and Dreamloper.

Pyledriver, runner-up in the 2021 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase, could clash with G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup (2112m) winner Alenquer, while top German stayers Mendocino and Sisfahan are also among the entries along with Group 1-winning sprinters Campanelle and Golden Pal from champion American jockey-turned-trainer Wesley Ward.

Mr Andrew Harding, Hong Kong Jockey Club Executive Director, Racing said: “We are delighted with the sheer quality and quantity of the international entry for 2022 LONGINES Hong Kong International Races. With the entry completed on 24 October, by the very best Hong Kong has to offer, we are extremely grateful to receive significant support from all quarters of the international racing community.

“It is clear from the entry that the global racing community has again fully embraced Hong Kong racing and we are excited to welcome back participating overseas owners, trainers and jockeys for what is shaping as a fantastic LONGINES HKIR.”