A pair of Hong Kong International Races entrants will have their final auditions for the big day at Sha Tin on Sunday, with Fast Most Furious and Dark Dream lining up in the Class One Chevalier Cup (1,600m).
Fast Most Furious defends his title in the race and trainer David Hall wants to see his consistent seven-year-old adding another Chevalier Cup to his resume – or at least going very close – to prove he deserves his first crack at Group One level in the Hong Kong Mile.
“He’d have to be strong at the finish, obviously you’d like a first-three finish and running through the line to say he’s still right at the top of his form,” Hall said. “He’ll have to run really well or win for him to take his place.
“I’m pretty proud of the horse for what he’s done over the last couple of years – he’s done a hell of a job for a hell of a long time.
“Once you get to the top of the ladder where he is with his rating now, it’s probably job done for him. But if he can line up in one of those Group One races, just to make the field is great for him.”
Fast Most Furious will meet local superstars Golden Sixty and Beauty Generation, as well as reigning champion Admire Mars and Aidan O’Brien pair Order Of Australia and Lope Y Fernandez, if he makes it to the Mile, with a realistic Hall admitting “he’s probably not a winning chance in a race like that”.
And the gelding’s chances of saluting on Sunday haven’t been helped at the barrier draw, with the son of Lope De Vega being hit with gate 11 in a race where he’ll carry the equal top weight against young guns Lucky Express and Sky Darci.
Dark Dream steps back to 1,600m after running 11th in the Group Three Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse (1,800m) and his trainer David Hayes hopes the Queensland Derby winner will be cherry ripe for the Hong Kong Cup (2,000m) in just over a fortnight.
“It’s pretty important that he runs a competitive race. His trackwork has been excellent and I’d just like him to run an even race and then hopefully have him somewhere near his peak for international week,” Hayes said. “I just want to see him hitting the line nicely.”
While Fast Most Furious must pass Sunday’s test to take his place on international day, Hall has no question marks over the ability of Ho Ho Khan to hold his own in the Hong Kong Vase (2,400m).
“He’s run sixth in an international [in last year’s Vase] and he’s run fifth in a Derby and he’s a little soldier – he was only a cheap horse and everyone’s getting a lot of fun out of running him in these big races and he keeps paying his way,” Hall said of Ho Ho Khan, who meets only six rivals in this year’s Vase.
“He was off the scene for a while coming back from injury, his first-up run obviously fitness was going to be tough for him and his second-up run he ran quite well.
“He ran fifth [last start over 2,000m] and they were a bit slick for him but he still battled away and 2,400m will be better, there’s only seven runners and he’ll turn up and he’s only got to beat one home to get a cheque.”