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Super win by Werther in Hong Kong showcase

Werther was an imperious winner of the 2016 Audemars Piguet QE II Cup at Sha Tin on 24 April 2016. It was his first international Group 1 win.

Werther was trained by John Moore and ridden by Hugh Bowman.

“Hyperion” (Robert Bishop) was in Hong Kong in the week leading up to the QE II Cup and felt that this was arguably the best field assembled for a QE II Cup. The field included the last three winners of the race, namely Blazing Speed (2015), Designs on Rome (2014) and Military Attack (2013), as well as some quality runners from Japan, in particular Lovely Day, who had enjoyed a fantastic 2015 in Japan.

A large delegation of Japanese racing media had followed Lovely Day and other Japanese raiders Satono Crown and Nuovo Record all week.

Highland Reel, the 2015 HK Vase winner, was also expected to be competitive.

The weather had been overcast throughout the week and, on raceday, it had been raining on and off, at times heavily. Fortunately the rain eased and the sun appreared in time for the race. The Sha Tin course is well drained but the rain had clearly eased the going and it was officially yielding.

Despite the going, the 13 horse field moved quickly into the first turn to secure desired positions. Helene Super Star settled at the front while Hugh Bowman to positioned Werther one spot off the fence close to race favourite Lovely Day. After the turn Lovely Day ran through an inside run under Joao Moreira and led at the 400m mark but could not quicken on the ground and drifted to the centre. As Lovely Day toiled, Werther loomed upside at the 300m and accelerated emphatically and maintained his speed until the winning post, winning by four and a half-lengths, a decisive victory on such rain-softened ground. The winning time was 2m 01.32s.

Military Attack ran on well for second under Nash Rawiller for trainer Caspar Fownes, while last year’s winner Blazing Speed was third to give Hong Kong a rather unexpected 1-2-3. Favourite Lovely Day was fourth.

The margin of success was second only to Quicken Away’s seven-length win. Werther was following up his March HKG1 BMW Hong Kong Derby win. The Tavistock gelding now has 7 wins from 18 starts. He had previously won a 2100m G2 contest on heavy ground in Australia and placed second in a soft ground G1 South Australian Derby (2500m).

Robert Bishop commented “This year’s QE II Cup was a great advertisement for Hong Kong racing and I am pleased that Audemars Piguet have been rewarded again for their long support for this event. To have the last three years’ winners in this race and for none of them nor the Japanese nor Highland Reel to win demonstrates just how strong this super field was. The manner of Werther’s win eliminates any hard luck stories and I can’t wait to see Werther run again, probably in the Champions & Chater Cup”.

Hyperion added “The outcome in this race shows just how good the overseas horses have to be to take this prize home. It reminded me of the exciting domestic wins by Viva Pataca and Vengeance of Rain”.

Despite the weather, Mr. Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s CEO, confirmed that the attendance was the highest at this race meeting in five years and the day’s turnover at HK$1.346 billion, was an increase on 2015.

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