The Hong Kong Vase is a Group 1 contest for three year olds and upwards over a distance of 1m 4f and is run in December each year at Sha Tin racecourse. The race has a stunning purse of HK$15,000,000 and is one of four major races to be run on Hong Kong International Race Day. Read on for our experts’ thoughts and betting tips for the race.
Breeders’ Cup Turf hero Highland Reel is bidding for back to back victories in the Hong Kong Vase for the Aidan O’Brien camp. He had a canter on the All-Weather track on Monday where he ran 800 metres in 1m 01.9s and is in tip top shape coming into the race according to his trainer. This superstar globetrotter beat Flintshire in last years’ renewal before beating the same opponent at Santa Anita in November under an amazing Seamie Heffernan who gave the horse an absolute peach of a ride. He also bagged the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes this year before finishing second in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe behind stablemate Found. Trip and ground will be perfect, he enjoys travelling the world and he looks the horse to beat once more.
If there is a horse to put it up to Highland Reel, it could come in the form of the Japanese raider Nuovo Record. The Japanese have a fine resume at Sha Tin and this chestnut mare finished second in the Hong Kong Cup last year behind A Shin Hikari, coming from 13 lengths back to finish just a length behind the winner; a blistering turn of foot. She is a Classic winner in her homeland of Japan, landing the 2015 Japan Oaks. She receives four pounds from Highland Reel which gives her a very solid chance if she brings her A-Game.
Michael Bell’s Big Orange could take Highland Reel on the lead and if they cut each others’ throats up front it could set the race up for a closer. Rated 119, this five year old possesses plenty of stamina but he showed he also has plenty of tactical speed when he was fifth in this years’ Melbourne Cup. He is no stranger to globetrotting either as he was also second in the Dubai Gold Cup. Silverware who is rated just one pound inferior to Big Orange (118) is the other horse worth a mention. This French colt could well appreciate the faster surface more than Big Orange and looks a better each way option than the Michael Bell raider.