Dunaden (left) winning the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin 12 months agoPICTURE: HKJC
Dunaden favourite to retain Hong Kong Vase
Preview: Hong Kong, Sunday 6am GMT (live on ATR)
Sha Tin: Longines Hong Kong Vase (Group 1) 1m4f, turf, 3yo+
A STRONG field has assembled for the Hong Kong Vase and last year's winner Dunaden is set to start favourite following the late defection of Sea Moon.
The winner of last year's Melbourne Cup, Dunaden impressed with victory in the Caulfield Cup but failed to fire when defending his Flemington crown.
Red Cadeaux was eighth in that, while Meandre and Bayrir come into the race from the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe where they were 12th and tenth behind Solemia.
Last year's Oaks winner Dancing Rain is freshest after just one run, when failing with a gallant third to double up in the Fillies and Mares on Champions Day at Ascot.
Globetrotting Joshua Tree, who has ticked over on the Sha Tin all-weather, also beat Dandino in the Canadian International.
What they say . . .
Mikel Delzangles, trainer of Dunaden
"Everything seems to be going according to plan after he arrived again from Australia and Craig [Williams] is happy with him."
Richard Lambert, travelling head groom to Andre Fabre, trainer of Meandre
"He has recovered from the travel and will like the faster ground - he was not himself for the Arc, switched off when he is usually tense when in good form."
Carlos Laffon-Parias, trainer of Chinchon
"He is relatively fresh for this time of year and should go well."
Marco Botti, trainer of Joshua Tree
"It's a tough race after a long season - he started in Dubai in January - but he looks well in his coat and Wayne who rides him at home is very happy with him here. We don't really want to make the running again but he stays well and if there is no pace he will be ridden prominently, but I hear there is a Hong Kong horse who likes the lead."
Ed Dunlop, trainer of Red Cadeaux
"People will point to his two quickish runs but the Melbourne Cup was his first run in four and a half months and he has taken the Japan Cup run incredibly well and is such a good traveller. He seems to act well on the track with his third in this last year."
James Fanshawe, trainer of Dandino
"Everything has gone well and he looks very well after a long season which would be my concern but if he is in top form he has a good chance."
William Haggas, trainer of Dancing Rain
"She travelled okay and I think she has improved since Ascot, which was her first run of the season and was also on very soft ground. The drying track is very much in her favour."
Alain de Roye-Dupre, trainer of Bayrir
"He looks well and has been a progressive horse - forget his run in the Arc on horrible ground. He travelled well, which he showed at Arlington - he is very mature for a three-year-old. It is a question of the level between the three-year-olds and the older horses."