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Champions Mile

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A TALE OF TWO CHAMPIONS

Variety Club belongs to another order, the guild that takes in Sea Cottage, Mowgli, Hawaii and Horse Chestnut. No foreign-trained racehorse has been able to take out Hong Kong’s Champions Mile (Gr.1) in the past ten years.

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VARIETY CLUB ALL CLASS IN CHAMPIONS MILE DEMOLITION

Variety Club shattered the air of invincibility surrounding Hong Kong horses in the Group 1 Champions Mile with a stunning victory that emphatically ended the local dominance. The South African champion sluiced four lengths clear at the wire to become the first overseas victor and prompted talk of a Breeders’ Cup assault.

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VARIETY CLUB AIMING TO END HONG KONG DOMINATION OF CHAMPIONS MILE

Variety Club is already a multiple Group 1 winner; has twice been crowned South African Horse Of The Year; and earlier this year dazzled Dubai with a comprehensive defeat of some notably talented milers to take the Group 2 Godolphin Mile with some ease. But on Sunday (4 May), the five-year-old will face the stiffest task of his storied career in the Group 1 Champions Mile at Sha Tin racecourse.

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THE CHAMPIONS MILE 2010 : BARRIER DRAW

imbongi hong kong mile
imbongi hong kong mile

Imbongi

(Photo : Hong Kong Jockey Club)

HONG KONG MILE (GR1)

Sha Tin, 25 April 2010

#

Horse

Representing

Trainer

Draw

1

GOOD BA BA

HONG KONG

Derek Cruz

1

2

EGYPTIAN RA

HONG KONG

Tony Cruz

12

3

FELLOWSHIP

HONG KONG

Paul O’Sullivan

7

4

SIGHT WINNER

HONG KONG

John Size

5

5

ABLE ONE

HONG KONG

John Moore

8

6

BEAUTY FLASH

HONG KONG

Tony Cruz

2

7

DAO DAO

AUSTRALIA

John Hawkes

10

8

THUMBS UP

HONG KONG

Danny Shum

9

9

IMBONGI

SOUTH AFRICA

Mike de Kock

6

10

SUNNY KING

HONG KONG

John Moore

3

11

FAIR TRADE

HONG KONG

Caspar Fownes

11

12

BRAVE KID

HONG KONG

John Size

4

IMBONGI GETS WORLD’S HOTTEST JOCKEY

christophe soumillon jockey
christophe soumillon jockey

Christophe Soumillon

(Photo : Journal de l’Equitation)

IMBONGI, CHRISTOPHE SOUMILLON AND THE HONG KONG MILE

News yesterday morning, was that Europe’s best jockey, Christophe Soumillon had confirmed his availability for the ride on Imbongiin next week’s Hong Kong Mile. It’s no different to the motor racing world, where it matters whether you get Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton or Michael Schumacher. The jockey counts, and this a first step in the right direction.

Imbongi is still sitting in Dubai, awaiting the conclusion of his quarantine after a cracker of a season during the Carnival, and ran a “buster” of a run on World Cup night. He must’ve been looking forward to his break, though Mike de Kock knows, you can’t rest forever. The Hong Kong Mile is always one of the most competitive events at the distance in the world, and this one will be no different. Imbongi will have to be at the top of his game to justify Soumillon’s trip across the eight time zones to partner him.

Knowing Imbongi, he’ll make it count. 

HK$12MILLION CHAMPIONS MILE (Group 1)

Sha Tin, 1600m, Turf

25 April 2010

Final Selections

Horse

Country

Int Rating

Age

Weight (lb)

Trainer

GOOD BA BA (USA)**

Hong Kong

112

8

126

Derek Cruz

EGYPTIAN RA (NZ)*

Hong Kong

119

8

126

Tony Cruz

FELLOWSHIP (NZ)*

Hong Kong

118

7

126

Paul O’Sullivan

SIGHT WINNER (NZ)**

Hong Kong

117

6

126

John Size

ABLE ONE (NZ)**

Hong Kong

116

7

126

John Moore

BEAUTY FLASH (NZ)*

Hong Kong

116

4

126

Tony Cruz

DAO DAO (AUS)

Australia

116

6

126

John Hawkes

THUMBS UP (NZ)*

Hong Kong

115

5

126

Danny Shum

CAT JUNIOR (USA)

Great Britain

114

5

126

Brian Meehan

IMBONGI (SAF)

South Africa

114

5

126

Mike de Kock

SUNNY KING (IRE)

Hong Kong

114

7

126

John Moore

FAIR TRADE (AUS)

Hong Kong

111

4

126

Caspar Fownes

BRAVE KID (AUS)

Hong Kong

110

4

126

John Size

Note :

** International Group 1 Winner

* Hong Kong Group 1 Winner

Hong Kong Champions Mile Group 1 : POST MORTEM


Champions Mile Gr1 2009
Sha Tin, Hong Kong

Mike de Kock is back in South Africa, so we can all breathe a sigh of relief. The man is a national treasure, and when it comes to the reputation of South African racehorses and their exportability, nobody’s done more for the game. We picked up on him shortly after he landed, and his feelings about Imbongi’s run (he finished just on two lengths behind the winner), was that he would’ve been a lot closer had he not lost ground on the bend. There was no explanation for it, other than the horse had a little bit of the “slows” midway through the race, yet he ran on resolutely, to get within two lengths of the winner, winding up 6th with a cheque in hand.

Mike’s feeling is that the setbacks his horses suffered in Dubai in the month leading to the World Cup, left them a little short in terms of their preparations, and he feels we’ll see a good bit of improvement when they start up their motors in England in the next month or two. Stay with us, there’ll be more to come from Imbongi.

ANTHONY DELPECH : A Star in Racing's Firmament

There are not many of us who understand what it takes to be a world-class race jockey. One man who’s had an almost uncanny association with the best horses from Summerhill, is Anthony Delpech.

THE CHAMPIONS MILE (Gr.1) : Sunday dawns in Hong Kong

Imbongi 23 April 2009
(Photo : Hong Kong Jockey Club)

You can go into any worthwhile website on racing anywhere in the world right now, and you can pick up news of this weekend’s big events in Hong Kong, including the Champions Mile. However, the one thing you won’t get is a statement from the horse’s mouth, so we thought we’d bring you news of our most recent bulletin from Mike de Kock, who sends our home-bred, Imbongi to post on Sunday.

Anyone hoping to make any sort of impression in this race would have to take history into account in their calculations, knowing that in all its time, the Hong Kong Champions Mile has yet to witness a placed runner among its foreign raiders, and that last year’s spectacular hero, Good Ba Ba reached the post in an amazing 1min 31.3 secs, and you know what you’re up against.

However, Mike de Kock is of the firm view that Imbongi is a real contender, provided he is over the troubles which confronted so many of the Mike de Kock stable in Dubai over the World Cup, and if Imbongi can get back to a modicum of the form which carried him to stardom in two Guineas and a triumph over Horse Of The Year, Pocket Power ans well as four other Grade One winners in the Drill Hall last season. Mike tells us though, that Imbongi managed an official “bullet” 21,5 secs for the last 400m of his final workout on Tuesday. If that’s not notice he’s ready to run for his life, tell us what is?

Keep your heads down, there could be an explosion Sunday morning (9:55 am our time).

HONG KONG BECKONS : SUMMERHILL WILL BE THERE

hong kong horse racingScenes from Hong Kong
(Photo : Hong Kong Jockey Club)

“A piece from Mick Goss”

Growing up in one of the remotest parts of the world as the son of a Pondo trader, I never imagined myself as the owner of an international class racehorse, let alone partnering a member of a nation’s ruling family and running for R14million, at Group One level. Yet that is what Imbongi has done for Summerhill Stud, and next weekend he gets his chance to take on some of the world’s best milers in the Hong Kong Mile (Gr.1). His travel mate, Archipenko, showered himself in glory as the hero of last year’s Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (Gr.1), and he returns this year to defend his crown.

Hard on the heels of Summerhill-bred, raised and educated Paris Perfect’s $600,000 romp in the Dubai World Cup (Gr.1), and Art Of War’s stand out billing from Mike de Kock as the “biggest surprise of the Dubai Carnival”, Imbongi now gets his chance to show to the world what made him the most formidable three-year-old miler in South Africa last year.

Keep a check on Mike de Kock’s website for all the latest news from Hong Kong.

Visit
www.mikedekockracing.com

Archipenko and Imbongi arrive in Hong Kong

Imbongi arrives in Hong Kong
(Photo : Hong Kong Jockey Club)

News from Mike de Kock is that Archipenko and Imbongi have arrived safely in Hong Kong where they are set to do battle in the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup and Champions Mile respectively.

With combined stakes of HK$26million, these two Group 1 races will witness an international field of top-class horses, come Sunday 26 April at Sha Tin racecourse.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club reports that, “this year’s renewal of the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup will feature two former champions in Archipenko and Viva Pataca and we are also delighted to have leading competitors from Australia, France, Great Britain, South Africa and the United States.”

“In the Champions Mile, we are delighted that increasing the race’s purse by 50 per cent to HK$12million has resulted in its strongest ever field. Four very interesting runners representing Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates will try to break a local stranglehold in this race but Good Ba Ba, the reigning champion and Horse of the Year, still appears the one to beat.”

Audemars Piguet has been a terrific supporter of Hong Kong racing. This, in fact, is the 11th year for our partners, the master Swiss watchmakers, to sponsor the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup, the season’s springtime showcase,” said Mr William A Nader, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Executive Director of Racing. This meeting has clearly become a very important day of international racing which, I’m sure, will enthrall fans from around the world.”

Audemars Piguet QEII Cup Gr1
2000m
HK$14million (approximately US$1.8million)
Ratings Order

Viva Pataca - Six-time Gr.1 winner, including a comfortable success in this race in 2007. Completed his preparation for this event with a sound third-placed run from top weight in last weekend’s Chairman’s Trophy (HK Gr.2).

Archipenko - Scored readily in this race last year to precede a Gr.2 win in England and an unlucky reverse in the Arlington Million. Started favourite for the Dubai Duty Free last month but was never dangerous in sixth.

Presvis - Capped a fine Dubai International Carnival with a fine runners-up finish in the Dubai Duty Free from a wide barrier and looks to be still on the upgrade.

Niconero - Veteran winner of five Gr.1 races is in the form of his life. Has twice collected at the highest level and finished a creditable fourth in the Dubai Duty Free in recent weeks.

Packing Winner - HK Gr.1 winner of the Citi Champions & Chater Cup last year from Viva Pataca having run fourth in this event.

Artiste Royal - American-trained Gr.1 winner who was not tested when hemmed in on the rails in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup last December. Has since won at Gr.2 level in California.

Chinchon- Three times placed in French Pattern events, including once last year in front of Collection, the subsequent Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby champion.

Thumbs Up - Triumphant in the HK Gr.1 Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Classic Mile in January and runner-up to Collection in the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby last month.

Bullish Cash - Triumphant in the HK Gr.3 Premier Plate last season and placed in the same race last month.

Viva Macau - Dual winner of the Ladies’ Purse (Class 1) and Gr.1 placed both locally and in France.

Roma Pegasus - Fifth in both the Randwick and Rosehill Guineas in Australia before similar finishes in the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Classic Mile, Derby Trial and Derby.

Danesis- Runner-up in his last start in the HKGr.3 Premier Plate to leap to a triple figure HK rating.

Champions Mile Gr1
1600m
HK$12million (approximately US$1.54million)
Ratings Order

Good BaBa- Six-time Gr.1 winner, current Horse of the Year and defending champion of this race. His international rating of 124 for winning the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile is the highest ever accorded to a Hong Kong horse.

Egyptian Ra - Only two horses are rated higher in Hong Kong after his all-the-way success in the HK Gr.1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup from Good Ba Ba. He won the HK Gr.2 Cathay Pacific International Mile Trial in similar fashion.

More Bountiful - Shot up by 21lbs in the ratings - a record rise this decade - in the wake of his authoritative success in the Chairman’s Trophy (HK Gr.2) last time.

Alexandros- Career best performance last time out when third in the Dubai Duty Free on the back of two earlier wins at the Dubai International Carnival for Godolphin.

Armada- Former Champion Miler for winning the HK Gr.1 Stewards’ Cup in 2007. Runner-up in both this race and the Yasuda Kinen last year.

Fellowship - Placed in his last three starts, two of those at the highest level and knocking on the door of his maiden HK Gr.1 victory.

Imbongi- Dual Gr.2 winner and also Gr.1 runner-up in South Africa.

Collection - The new star of Hong Kong racing after his terrific triumph in the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby. Drops back in distance here.

Sight Winner - Most Improved Horse in Hong Kong last season and his consistency in the best local races has maintained the upward curve this season.

Dao Dao - Four wins last season for John Size in Hong Kong and a Listed winner in Sydney last weekend for his former trainer, John Hawkes.

Sir Slick - Six-time Gr.1 winner in New Zealand where he is known as the ‘People’s Champion’.

Unique Jewellery - Winner of the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby Trial and a commendable fourth in the Classic itself.

Gem Of Chiu Ton - Listed placed in England before arriving in Hong Kong where he appears on the verge of a breakthrough success.