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Hong Kong Cup 2006 "Hyperion's" pre-race article

“Hyperion” is in Hong Kong for the four Group 1 races on Sunday’s big day. There has been much discussion about whether last year''s Hong Kong Vase winner Ouija Board should actually have contested the Hong Kong Cup this year but owner Lord Derby has opted to try to defend her crown in the Hong Kong Vase. Ouija Board looks to have a faourites chance and was not disgraced when third behind the great Deep Impact in the Japan Cup in Tokyo two weeks ago. She has had a very busy globetrotting season but seems to thrive on this and she has not shown any adverse signs in her trackwork this week. We expect her to feature in the finish along with Song of Wind and Kastoria. Song of Wind from Japan has never finished out of the frame in 10 career starts and won the Japanese St Leger, albeit over 3000m, on 22 October but in record time; he is the EW tip of the race. The mare Kastoria beat Yeats in the Irish St Leger last time out and likes to come with her run at the end of the race; we feel that Michael Kinane can steer her to a creditable third place. Of the others, Yutaka Take’s mount Admire Main has his supporters but his front running style may not be suited by this years Vase. Collier Hill is another veteran globetrotter and won the Canadian International last time out, however we feel he may be a little one paced on the run in when compared to the likes of Ouija Board and Song of Wind. Scorpion, trained by Aidan O’Brien, is lightly raced this year following his Doncaster St Leger win in 2005 but was fifth in the Breeders Cup Turf last time out in a fast run race and could sneak a place if, as we expect, the initial stages are slowly run. The Hong Kong Sprint is being run over 1200m for the first time and the likely absence of Takeover Target makes it a much more open race. Hyperion has utmost respect for what Silent Witness has done for Hong Kong racing, as well as for his racing abilities, but we fear he is not the same racehorse this year. We would be delighted to be proven wrong. There is no standout runner although Sunny Sing has a fair chance of keeping the prize at home. Desert Lord won the Prix De L’Abbaye on Arc day beating Reverence but prefers 1,000m, as does Benbaun. Japan’s Meisho Bowler is an interesting candidate but has only won 7 of 27 career starts. Ultimately we favour the difficult to train Absolute Champion to prevail and keep the prize at home; Sunny Sing can make up the Exacta with Desert Lord for third. The Hong Kong Mile looks like the race of the night with many horses with strong credentials. John Size’s Armada looked very strong when winning the Mile Trial at Sha Tin two weeks ago and everything seems to have gone right for the horse since then; he will be ridden by Douglas Whyte. Hong Kong’s Horse of the Year last year Bullish Luck has had another fine year, including winning the Yasuda Kinen in Japan. The other two we favour are Dance in the Mood from Japan and Ramonti from Italy. Dance in the Mood was second to Daiwa Major in the Mile Championship in Kyoto last month and is a proven traveller. We expect Armada to win from Dance in the Mood with Bullish Luck and Ramonti to fight it out for third. In the Hong Kong Cup itself we expect Pride to go one better than her second place in the Cup last year. She has had a magnificent year winning the Grand Prix de Saint Cloud and the Champion Stakes and coming second to Rail Link in the Arc. She also gets the mares allowance. Last year''s winner Vengeance of Rain has had an indifferent year and is yet to prove he is as good as last year and that may also go for the 2004 winner Alexander Goldrun. Growl may be a better horse next year and Satwa Queen may be a notch below what is required to win. Pride may have most to fear from a fast finishing Admire Moon and local hope Hello Pretty, who won the Trial with Viva Pataca five lengths back in third. So, in conclusion, we expect the mares to win both the Cup and the Vase and also expect some excellent performances from the Japanese runners in what has been a terrific year for Japanese racing thanks to Deep Impact and the Melbourne Cup 1,2. (Robert Bishop)"

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Great Racehorses of the World is based in Sydney and London.

The Great Racehorses team has followed top class international horseracing for over fourty years and has developed its own unique approach to rating leading horses.

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