Carlton House: the Queen's colt has an excellent record over 1m2fPICTURE: HKJC
Cirrus absence raises Carlton expectations
Preview: Hong Kong, Sunday 8.30am GMT (live on ATR)
Sha Tin: Longines Hong Kong Cup (Group 1) 1m2f, turf, 3yo+
THE late defection of Cirrus Des Aigles leaves an open look that has connections of Carlton House raising expectations that the Queen's colt can improve his impressive record over this trip - only So You Think deprived him of a perfect three over 1m2f.
Pride and Vision d'Etat have given France two winners in the last six years and this year's French Derby winner Saonois has been impressing in his track work, while Falmouth Stakes winner Giofra is another leading contender.
Last year's first and second for Hong Kong, California Memory and Irian, are sure to have a big say with Irian, one of four runners for trainer John Moore, hoping it is third time lucky as he was also narrowly beaten by Snow Fairy in the 2010 race.
What they say . . .
Tony Cruz, trainer of California Memory
"It's a good sign we have the same gate as last year and he is in excellent condition again with everything having gone according to plan."
Sir Michael Stoute, trainer of Carlton House
"I'm happy with him and he travelled over very well. He's a very consistent horse and his best form is at this trip. His draw is perfect as he can get some cover."
Jake Stephens, trainer of Alcopop
"He is going really well in his work, almost too well and I'm excited about his chance."
John Moore, trainer of Irian, Zaidan, Dan Excel and Military Attack
"Jim McDonald will have to weave some magic from wide out in 12 on Zaidan which is not a good draw and Dan Excel will probably try to make it but Military Attack will be held up. Irian is in good form
Jean-Pierre Gauvin, trainer of Saonois
"He has been superb since he left home and has worked well on the turf here."
Alain de Royer-Dupre, trainer of Giofra
"She travelled well and looks at home on the turf here. She is an exceptional filly and might be underrated. She didn't like the ground in the Opera when third and I'm expecting a very good performance on this better ground."
Michael Figge, trainer of Feuerblitz
"He settled in really well and we had to chose between this and the Vase. There should be more speed in this race which he enjoys and should run a good race."