The Showdown at Sha Tin

This will be a relatively quiet weekend for racing here in the states but there are two big races in Hong Kong on Sunday, the QEII Cup and the Champions Mile. The QEII Cup features a showdown between Dubai Sheema winner and Hong Kong hero, Vengeance of Rain and Dubai Duty Free winner, Admire Moon. Also in the field is Seihali.

The Champions Mile features Bullish Luck who was third in the Dubai World Cup and is going for his third consecutive Champions Mile his main competition seems to be Linngari.

The HKJC has an excellent website featuring these races.

Courtesy of The Hong Kong Jockey Club

Audemars Piguet QEII Cup/Champions Mile - Tracknotes, Friday, April 27

27 April 2007

It only took a few seconds of Friday morning trackwork for trainer David Ferraris to dispel any lingering concerns he held as regards the wellbeing of his top Audemars Piguet QEII Cup chance, Vengeance Of Rain.

The 2005 winner of this race and recent Dubai Sheema Classic champion impressed in a final half-mile workout, finishing in 22.6 seconds under jockey Anthony Delpech.

"It was a beautiful piece of work and he's 100 per cent, no question about it," Ferraris said.

"A few horses in the stable have been under a cloud but they are downstairs in the yard and he's away from them on the upper level. But that piece of work told me that he's A1 and I'm very happy."

Likely Cup favourite Admire Moon, the brilliant victor of the Dubai Duty Free last month, worked easily for one lap of the dirt track.

"He is still in good order after his gallop yesterday. We brought his feed from Japan, and he is eating up very well. We are all set for the race," his work rider Masanobu Baba said.

The only overseas challenger to work on turf was APQEII Cup raider Seihali with big race jockey Johnny Murtagh in the saddle. The consistent eight-year-old, accompanied as usual by a galloping companion, completed the last 400m in a highly respectable 22 seconds.

Former Irish champion Murtagh, who has ridden Seihali in his last five starts, said: "That was good even though he is not a flashy worker in the morning, and he pulled up very fresh which is another positive sign. He's never been over Sunday's trip before and I am quite confident he'll stay the trip, but I can't deny it is a very hot race. Seihali will need to be at his best to get into the very big money."

Dhruba Selvaratnam remains upbeat: "I am very hopeful that he will finish in the first four," added the Sri Lankan-born trainer.

Jockey Kevin Shea exercised both Sushisan for the APQEII Cup and his Champions Mile contender, Linngari.

He said: "Linngari feels as good as he has been in six months. The other horse [Sushisan] has got to prove it but he also feels at his peak. They are both big runners on Sunday."

Weichong Marwing also was aboard both his big race rides on Sunday. Oracle West (APQEII Cup) and Kapil (Champions Mile) both did some quick work on the all-weather track and Marwing said of the Mike de Kock-trained pair: "Both are in good shape. They paced well within themselves."

Viva Pataca cantered on the sand partnered by Michael Kinane who later said: "He's in good shape. He bounced around there and he's fresh and well."

Kinane also became acquainted with his Champions Mile ride Able One on the sand.

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