Eight Australians are among 62 international
entries received for the HK$14 million Audemars Piguet QEII Cup which will be run at Sha
Tin in Hong Kong on April 21.
Hong Kong officials are thrilled with the
level and quality of the international gallopers which have been nominated for the race
which is valued at close to A$4 million.
"We are very pleased with the positive
response the race has one again received," the Hong Kong Jockey Club's Executive
Director of Racing Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said.
"Owners and trainers that were here
for the International Races are keen to come back - five out of the first six home in last
December's Hong Kong Cup, for example, hold entries."
"And there are plenty of exciting new names
on the list. The early signs are that a fantastic race is in store," he added.
A major reason behind the increased growth
in this year's event is put down to a 40% increase in prizemoney and the inclusion of the
race into the World Series Racing Championship.
The 2000 metre Group One event has no fewer
than 22 individual Group One winners from ten countries entered. There are 15 horses rated
115 or higher on the international classification.
The first and second horses past the post
in last week's Australian Cup, Old Comrade and Northerly, have both been nominated by
their respective trainers, Lindsey Smith and Fred Kersley.
Saturday's beaten Darley Stakes favourite Shogun
Lodge (Bob Thomsen) and the in form Melbourne based three-year-old Dash for Cash (Rick
Hore-Lacy) have also been entered.
Also among the Australian entries are the
last start stakes winners Universal Prince (Bede Murray), Lonhro (John Hawkes) and Hey
Pronto (Gai Waterhouse). Robert Rosengreen has also entered the evergreen El Mirada.
New Zealand is represented by four entries
and as usual their queen of the track Sunline heads that country's charge. Also entered
are Mackinnon Stakes heroine La Bella Dama (Graeme Rogeron), recent St Leger winner Hail
(Bruce Marsh) and the consistent So Casual (Ross Taylor).
Of the international brigade Val Royal is
the highest rated of the early nominations. A winner of last year's Breeders' Cup Mile
(1600m) in record breaking time at Belmont Park, Val Royal was set to visit Hong Kong late
last year for the Hong Kong Cup before a training setback on the eve of his American
Another highly rated American entry is the
Jonathan Sheppard trained With Anticipation. A dual Grade One winner over 2200m and 2400m
last year, With Anticipation was America's leading turf stayer for 2001.
The Japanese raiders Eishin Preston and
Agnes Digital was gunning for a HK$1 million bonus for connections after wins at the
International meet in December. The winners of the Hong Kong Mile and Cup respectively,
are both expected to return to try and repeat the dose at Sha Tin again in April.
Eishin Preston, the second highest rated
galloper (behind Val Royal), is trained by Shuji Kitahashi, while the JRA's Champion Older
Horse of 2001, Agnes Digital won at his racetrack return in the Feburary Stakes recently -
giving him five straight wins.
The European charge is again headed by the
perennial champion Jim and Tonic. The gelding will be having his eighth start in Hong Kong
in the Group One event next month. Incredibly, Jim and Tonic has only been out of the
frame in Hong Kong once before.
The Germans are keen the retain the race
they won last year with the globetrotting gelding Silvano. Last year's Derby winner Boreal
and the multiple Group One winner Paolini head the charge from Germany.
Hawkeye, is the highest-rated British-based
contender. At his last trip to Hong Kong he finished a close fourth in the Hong Kong Cup.
Other trainers with entries include David Elsworth (of Persian Punch fame in Australia)
and Mark Johnston (best known with Double Trigger).
Horse representing the United Arab Emirates
swept away with the prestigious race in 1995 and 1996. Saeed bin Suroor and the powerful
Godolphin operation are again targeting the race. Grandera and Ekraar look to be the
leading hopes from Dubai.
Former New Zealand trainer Laurie Laxon has
nominated the former multiple Group One winning in India, Saddle Up, which appears the be
the leading chance from Singapore. Melbourne's own John Meagher has also entered a runner,
Northerly (AUS) - Fred Kersley
Shogun Lodge (AUS) - Bob Thomsen
Universal Prince (AUS) - Bede Murray
Old Comrade (AUS) - Lindsey Smith
Lonhro (AUS) - John Hawkes
Dash for Cash (AUS) - Rick Hore-Lacy
El Mirada (AUS) - Robert Rosengreen
Hey Pronto (NZ) - Gai Waterhouse
Jim and Tonic (FR) - Francois Doumen
Terre A Terre (FR) - Eric Libaud
Okawango (USA) - Christiane Head
King of Tara (IRE) - Francois Doumen
Keltos (FR) - Carlos Laffon-Parias
Lethals Lady (GB) - Robert Collet
Foundation Spirit (FR) - Francois Doumen
Mont Rocher (FR) - John Hammond
Execute (FR) - John Hammond
Bedawin (FR) - Francois Doumen
Glowing Beam (GB) - Christiane Head
GREAT BRITAIN (10)
Hawkeye (IRE) - Michael Jarvis
Compton Bolter (IRE) - Gerald Butler
Pawn Broker (GB) - David Elsworth
Indian Creek (GB) - David Elsworth
Leo's Luckyman (USA) - Mark Johnston
Scottish River (USA) - Mark Johnston
Freefourinternet (USA) - Brian Meehan
Desert Deer (GB) - Mark Johnston
Prize Winner (GB) - Jeremy Noseda
Adiemus (GB) - Jeremy Noseda
Boreal (GER) - Peter Schiergen
Paolini (GER) - Andreas Wohler
Zollner (GER) - Peter Schiergen
Pryor (GER) - Andreas Schutz
Krombacher (GER) - Peter Rau
Eishin Preston (USA) - Shuji Kitahashi
Agnes Digital (USA) - Toshiaki Shirai
Matikane Kinnohosi (USA) - Kazuo Fujisawa
Magnaten (USA) - Kazuo Fujisawa
Rascal Suzuka (JPN) - Mitsuru Hashida
NEW ZEALAND (4)
Sunline (NZ) - Trevor McKee
La Bella Dama (NZ) - Graeme Rogerson
So Casual (NZ) - Ross Taylor
Hail (NZ) - Bruce Marsh
SOUTH AFRICA (1)
Polo Classic (SAF) - Terry Lowe
Saddle Up (IND) - Laurie Laxon
Petroselli (IRE) - John Meagher
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (4)
Grandera (IRE) - Saeed bin Suroor
Ekraar (USA) - Saeed bin Suroor
Celtic Silence (GB) - Saeed bin Suroor
Atlantis Prince (GB) - Saeed bin Suroor
Val Royal (FR) - Julio Canani
With Anticipation (USA) - Jonathan Sheppard
Irish Prize (USA) - Neil Drysdale
Continental Red (USA) - Ian Jory
Band is Passing (USA) - Stanley Ersoff
Del Mar Show (USA) - William Mott
Western Pride (USA) - Jim Chapman
Muntej (GB) - Roger Attfield
Mr. Pleasentfar (BRZ) - Martin D Wolfson
Strategic Partner (USA) - Mark Hennig
Drama Critic (USA) - Mark Hennig
Masaccio (BRZ) - Martin D Wolfson
Total number of overseas entries:
PICS - Quentin Lang.