Ryan Moore guides Mogul to victory in last year’s Hong Kong Vase. Photo: Kenneth Chan
Mogul gave Aidan O’Brien his third victory in the Group One Longines Hong Kong Vase last year with an imperious display and the four-year-old is back to defend his title as part of a two-pronged attack on the race from the legendary trainer.
The son of Galileo ran the 2019-20 Hong Kong Horse of the Year Exultant off his feet in the straight that day and while he hasn’t won in his four starts since, a return to familiar surroundings might bring the best out of the four-year-old.
Coolmore’s other runner is Broome, who comes into the race after a strong second to Yibir in the Breeders’ Cup Turf earlier this month.
The five-year-old has enjoyed a fantastic season, with four wins (including the Group One Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud) and four seconds from 10 starts.
The only caveat for Broome taking his place in the nine-horse field is that he must come through Sunday’s Group One Japan Cup in good order.
The O’Brien-trained Mogul is not the only former Vase winner having another shot at the HK$20 million feature, with 2019 champion Glory Vase also in the mix.
The Tomohito Ozeki-trained six-year-old seems to love visiting Hong Kong, as he finished second to Loves Only You in April’s QE II Cup in his only other trip to the city.
Even though Glory Vase has only raced once since then, he finished third in the Group Two Sankei Sho All Comers (2,200m) and has the services of four-time champion jockey Joao Moreira,
Interestingly, the two horses who have proven themselves over this course and distance might not even start favourite on the day with talented Brit Pyledriver sure to make his presence felt.
Trained by William Muir and Chris Grassick, the four-year-old son of Harbour Watch won the Group One Coronation Cup in June before tuning up for his international assignment with a victory at Lingfield earlier this month.
The lone French representative at this year’s Hong Kong International Races comes in the form of smart filly Ebaiyra, from the Alain de Royer Dupre stable.
The four-year-old has two Group Two and two Group Three victories to her credit, while she was second (beaten a length) to Broome in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.
The other overseas raider is Japanese veteran Stay Foolish, who hasn’t won since May 2018 but does boast placings to Loves Only You, Chrono Genesis, Mer De Glace and Win Bright since then.
The Vase is a race that internationals have dominated since its inception in 1994 with Hong Kong-trained horses having only prevailed on three occasions and that trend looks set to continue.
There are just three locals in the field with last year’s third placegetter Columbus County probably the best hope with surprise Jockey Club Cup victor Reliable Team and Butterfield rounding out the starters.