The Champions Mile is one of the more important races in the Spring in Hong Kong and our man at Sha Tin has cast an eye over the list of runners ahead of Sunday’s contest.
IN SUMMARY: A small but select field will vie for the £1.6 million in prize money and although hopes are high for big runs from the English trained pairing, the first two places ought to be fought out by the John Size trained RAPPER DRAGON and Tony Cruz’s Beauty Only, though Stormy Antarctic could upset as few and come home in third.
1 BEAUTY ONLY – Trainer Tony Cruz will be hoping for a big run from the six-year-old son of Holy roman Emperor who sued to be trained by Aidan O’Brien and who won at Group One level as a juvenile. He has won six of his twenty starts but was half a length behind Rapper Dragon last time, and there is no reason to think that form should be reversed.
2 HELENE PARAGON – Two wins earlier in the season included the notable scalp of Able Friend here over seven furlongs in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup but his form has dropped off a little since with a four and a quarter length seventh to Rapper Dragon and Beauty Only here last time out. A decent horse but needs to find a lot more.
3 CONTENTMENT – The likeable John Size trains the son of Hussonet but he looks to have his work cut out to get involved in the finish here having finished behind Rapper Dragon and Co last time, but ahead of Helene Paragon who trades at half his price. Might end up having to make the running here and should be swamped late on.
4 RAPPER DRAGON – The next big thing in Hong Kong racing over the mile and looking to add this prize to the Hong Kong Derby where he held off Pakistan Star who ran so well behind Neorealism last weekend. A winner again since when beating Beauty Only with a bit in hand making it four wins in a row for the season, and open to even further improvement.
5 STORMY ANTARCTIC – Has perhaps flattered to deceive on occasion for trainer Ed Walker and is yet to live up to his obvious talent. Solid British form behind the likes of Ribchester but should have done better at Doncaster on his return in lesser class. May be better with a bit more cut in the ground but could surprise and go close to a place, working well and first time blinkers here.
6 CONVEY – Sir Michael Stoute’s five-year-old looks a picture in the mornings but has a high knee action and may need more give to be seen at his best. His two wins this season were on the Lingfield polytrack and this will be a very different challenge, still improving though and hard to judge.
7 CIRCUIT LAND – Outsider of the home team on the latest betting but has Hugh Bowman in the saddle, which increases his chances. Three places this season and proving hard to win with but ahead of Contentment and Helene Paragon and massively overpriced.