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Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong this weekend
23 Apr 2014
It is the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong this weekend
A very fine field has been assembled for this year’s renewal of the Audemars Piguet sponsored Queen Elizabeth II Cup to be run at Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong on Sunday.
Interviewed at Randwick racecourse, “Hyperion” (Robert Bishop) commented “This terrific field reminds me of the super fields assembled when Vengeance of Rain and Stanley Ho’s Viva Pataca competed and won their three QE II Cups several years ago. I anticipate a special race and, with so many live chances, I expect a race where tactics will be paramount and where it may pay to hold mounts up for a final run as I do not expect a front runner to prevail this year”.
In addition to Hong Kong’s horses hoping to keep the prize at home, there are four quality overseas challengers, two from Japan and two from South Africa.
The favourite is likely to be Military Attack, Hong Kong’s reigning Horse of the Year who won the 2013 QEII Cup and then went on to win the Singapore International Airlines Cup (2000m). However Military Attack has failed to win in his first four starts this term including 4th place in the G1 LONGINES HK Cup (2000m). He was also 10th in the G1 Dubai World Cup (2000m) last month.
The second Hong Kong star is Akeed Mofeed, who won the 2013 HKG1 BMW HK Derby and the G1 LONGINES HK Cup last December at the course and distance. He was fifth in the G1 Dubai World Cup (2000m) in March. He is ideally held up in midfield off a strong pace and this may be a tactic that could work on the day.
Mike de Kock, South Africa's two time G1 Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup winning trainer with Irridesence (2006) and Archipenko (2008) returns to Hong Kong with a dual attack. He will be represented by the four year olds Vercingetorix and Sanshaawes.
Vercingetorix was beaten for the first time in the Dubai Duty Free, after five wins in South Africa and Dubai, but finished a creditable second to Japanese superstar Just A Way in record time.
Stablemate Sanshaawes finished seventh in the Dubai World Cup, two places and 1.5 lengths behind Akeed Mofeed.
Japan’s two runners are Epiphaneia and Uncoiled.
Epiphaneia was runner-up in the first two legs of Japan’s Triple Crown last year, the G1 Satsuki Sho (2000m) and G1 Tokyo Yushun (2400m), before claiming a 5 length victory on soft going in the third leg, the G1 Kikuka Sho (3000m). Epiphaneia returned to racing this season with a 3rd place on firm ground in the G2 Sankei Osaka Hai (2000m), 1 ¾ lengths behind his 2013 Japanese Derby conqueror, Kizuna.
Uncoiled came closest to victory last term when a neck 2nd in October’s G2 Kyoto Daishoten (2400m). Subsequently 6 ¼ lengths fourth behind Just A Way in the G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) over 2000m and near 2 length 8th to star Gentildonna in G1 Japan Cup (2400m). Uncoiled ran 3rd first-up this term in February’s G2 Kyoto Kinen (2200m) and most recently was 1 ½ lengths seventh when favourite for 2000m G3 at Chukyo.
Robert Bishop prefers the chances of Mike de Kock’s two runners over the Japanese runners but also likes the 2013 G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m) winner Dominant. His last run was a fast finishing 2 ½ lengths 5th to Gentildonna in G1 Dubai Sheema Classic (2410m) last month. “He is usually held up and this reminds me of the way Presvis was successful a few years ago”.
HKG1 BMW HK Derby (2000m) winner Designs on Rome should run well but is likely to find a few of the more experienced runners better on the day.
Hyperion concludes “At this stage I prefer Akeed Mofeed slightly over Dominant and then Vercingetorix but this promises to be a vintage race.”
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