Racing News  

Thriller on the cards as 2016 BMW Hong Kong Derby field is revealed


The 2016 HKG1 BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) on Sunday 20 March has all the hallmarks of a thriller. This year’s exciting field of 14 was revealed today, Wednesday 9 March, at Happy Valley Racecourse, before an expectant audience of horsemen and media.

With a prize fund of HK$18 million, the BMW Hong Kong Derby is the second richest Derby in the world and this year’s contest has attracted a field befitting that status. The third and final leg of the season’s four-year-old majors features the horses that vied to the wire in the first two legs, Sun Jewellery and Werther.

“The BMW Hong Kong Derby is a race at the very heart of the sport here in Hong Kong,” said Mr. Anthony Kelly, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Executive Director of Racing Business and Operations. “It is a race with a prestigious history and a contest full of promise for the future as it brings together the very best of the emerging stars, the four-year-old elite, in a battle for once-in-a-lifetime glory. 

“The Derby carries a special charisma, it is an attention-grabber; it is a race that every owner, trainer and jockey in Hong Kong is eager to win. The road to this year’s Derby has been particularly fascinating; the leading protagonists so far are evenly-matched and it will be exciting to see which of this talented crop will put his head in front of the rest and earn the rare accolade of Derby winner.”   

Sun Jewellery heads into the race as the highest-rated contender (110) thanks to wins in the HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Mile and HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) but John Size’s charge will have to buck history as no horse has ever added the BMW Hong Kong Derby to wins in both those races.

The John Moore-trained Werther will be seeking to avenge his previous narrow defeats at the hands of Sun Jewellery. Moore is also represented by Helene Paragon, G1-placed in Europe, who notched a smart Class 2 win at 1800m recently, the quietly progressing White Magic and the enigmatic Victory Magic.

Size, meanwhile, also has the exciting Eastern Express as he seeks a third Hong Kong Derby win in five years. The Irish-bred son of Fastnet Rock, a winner at the distance already, has won three of six starts this term and stepped up from Class 3 to defy his rating and run a dead-heat third behind Sun Jewellery in a blanket finish to last month’s Hong Kong Classic Cup.

Sharing third spot on that occasion was the Ricky Yiu-trained Blizzard. The Starcraft gelding filled the same position behind Sun Jewellery and Werther in January’s Hong Kong Classic Mile and the tough customer is doing his best to defy the notion that he is a sprinter/miler. 

Giovanni Canaletto raced against the cream of Europe’s three-year-olds last year, finishing fourth in Golden Horn’s Epsom Derby and third behind Jack Hobbs in the Irish Derby, both at 2400m. Tony Cruz’s charge improved for his Hong Kong debut, sixth in the Hong Kong Classic Mile, when closing to within a length of Sun Jewellery in the Classic Cup. The Cruz stable also has Green Dispatch and King Genki among the selected runners.

Consort, third in the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes in June, was another high-profile purchase from Europe last summer. Owner Pan Sutong’s hopes of a second Derby win to complement Akeed Mofeed’s 2013 success received a boost when Richard Gibson’s charge posted an eye-catching barrier trial at Sha Tin on 8 March, the colt having previously finished out of contention in both the Classic Mile and Classic Cup.

Also nominated are Hero Look and Lucky Girl. The Chris So-trained Hero Look won the Italian 2,000 Guineas last year, the G3 Premio Parioli (1600m). The Dennis Yip-trained Lucky Girl has risen into contention with some smart efforts from four runs in lesser grade this term.

The Hong Kong Derby was first staged in 1873. Recent winners of the race include subsequent international G1 winners Vengeance Of Rain (2005), Viva Pataca (2006), Ambitious Dragon (2011), Akeed Mofeed (2013) and Designs On Rome (2014).


Related Website�G

BMW Hong Kong Derby


Copyright © 2000-2024 The Hong Kong Jockey Club. All rights reserved.