Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup
Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup

Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup / SMH-SCMP (p)


Sha Tin, Turf, 2000m

27 April 2014

Two Mike de Kock-trained horses, Vercingetorix and Sanshaawes, have been invited to join worthy opponents from three continents in the HK$14-million Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin on 27 April as the dominant jurisdictions from the Dubai World Cup meeting face off again.

The QE II Cup is light on visiting horses with only five announced on Wednesday, but the race is strong on quality.

When the dust settled on Dubai’s desert showpiece last month, Japan and Hong Kong had claimed two Group 1 races apiece, with South African Variety Club successful in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile and they are the three racing centres which dominate the QE II field.

Defending QE II Cup champion, Military Attack, Hong Kong Cup winner Akeed Mofeed, Vase winner Dominant and this year’s Derby winner and third placegetter, Designs On Rome and Dibayani, will head the hometown defence.

The QE II Cup has been almost shared equally by locals and visitors since the turn of the century.

Japan’s Epiphaneia and Uncoiled are also among the entries, while evergreen French star Cirrus Des Aigles makes his sixth visit to Hong Kong.

Perhaps the most interesting of the invitees is Epiphaneia, runner-up in last year’s Japanese 2000 Guineas and Derby and trained by Katsuhiko Sumii.

Sumii has an impressive record whenever he turns up with runners for international Group 1 events, including the outstanding 2012 QE II Cup winner Rulership.

French star Cirrus Des Aigles will be making his sixth visit to Hong Kong. Once the world’s top-ranked racehorse, he finished third to Akeed Mofeed in the Hong Kong Cup in December and was runner-up to Japanese champion Gentildonna in the Dubai Sheema Classic.

Epiphaneia’s 2013 form after the Derby included wins in the Group 2 Kobe Shimbun Hai (2400m) and the Group 1 Kikuka Sho, the Japanese St Leger at 3000m.

On his only start this year, Epiphaneia started odds-on favourite in a Group 2 at Hanshin last weekend but could finish only third to the horse who had conquered him in the Derby as well, Kizuna.

Uncoiled doesn’t have quite the same profile but was fourth to Just A Way in the Group 1 Tenno-Sho in October and was beaten by only two lengths by Gentildonna in the most recent Japan Cup.

Vercingetorix won the Group 1 Jebel Hatta during the Meydan carnival before he tasted defeat for the first time in his career when runner-up in the Dubai Duty Free behind stunning Japanese winner Just A Way.

Sanshaawes, who De Kock has said is to be rested after a full Dubai World Cup Carnival schedule, finished seventh to African Story in the World Cup, two places behind Akeed Mofeed and three ahead of Military Attack.

Extract from Tab News