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2016 Hong Kong Cup betting tips and odds. Designs on Rome, Free Eagle and Criterion are favourites.

Posted on 29/11 by Pom de Turf

2016 Hong Kong Cup betting tips and odds. Designs on Rome, Free Eagle and Criterion are favourites.
Designs on Rome, 2016 Hong Kong Cup favourite

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Hong Kong’s richest and biggest race

On December 13th some of the world’s best horses will line up for the HK$25 million Hong Kong Cup (2,000m), the culmination of the global racing season and Hong Kong’s richest race.
On Wednesday the selected 14 runners were announced, following in the hoof-prints of some class horses in the past, such as Jim and Tonic, Fantastic Light, Falbrav, Alexander Goldrun and California Memory. We take a good look at the contenders.

Designs on Rome (IRE)
Owner: Cheng Keung-fai
Trainer: John Moore
Winner of last year's Hong Kong Cup, Designs On Rome is aiming to become only the second horse in history to win the Cup back-to-back; California Memory did it in 2011 and 2012. His career began in Ireland with Pat Flynn and he was bought for a big amount after finishing second in the English 2,000 Guineas in a juvenile Group One. He progressed well in Hong Kong, becoming one of the top four-year-olds in the 2013-14 season. After off-season joint surgery, he returned in the Jockey Club Mile after coming home in sixth position. Are there some doubts that he as good as he was?

Free Eagle (IRE)
Owner: Moyglare Stud Farm
Trainer: Dermot Weld
This 4 year old bay gelding trained by the renowned Dermot Weld is having his final start before retiring to the Irish National Stud next year. He has always shown great promise, a horse with a big race in him, and although he won the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot, he does appear capable of going to an even higher level. Could he end his racing career on a high?

Blazing Speed (GB)
Owner: Fentons Racing Syndicate
Trainer: Tony Cruz
A 6 yr old bay gelding who began his career with James Fanshawe; after four starts in the UK he was bought as a Derby prospect. He took a long time to settle in Hong Kong, but has now acclimatized and been remarkably consistent, winning Group One races from 1,600m to 2,400m. Career best so far came in the QE II Cup in April and he enters this in good form.

Criterion (NZ)
Owner: Sir Owen Glenn
Trainer: David Hayes
Criterion is a 5 yr old chestnut on best form making his third trip to Hong Kong in a year after runs in both Australia and the UK in between. He has run in a Golden Slipper, the world's richest juvenile race, as well as a Melbourne Cup. Coming 3rd in his 2 runs in Hong Kong and celebrating placings in the Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup, he enters in great form and plans are to tackle Dubai and Japan after the Hong Kong Cup.

Military Attack (IRE)
Owner: Canny Leung Chi-shan
Trainer: Caspar Fownes
Formerly raced as Rave for John Hills, his trainer now describes the 7 yr old as ‘problematic’; requiring pain management for a number of joint issues. However, his last three starts showed his previous form - a brilliant second in the Singapore Airlines International Cup, and a third in the Sha Tin Trophy before his narrow win in the Jockey Club Cup. There remain doubts about his stamina for the big one.

Dan Excel (IRE)
Owner: David Boehm
Trainer: John Moore
The 7 yr old arrived in late 2011, after a successful run of two Group Threes and a fifth in the Irish 2,000 Guineas. However, in 31 starts in Hong Kong he has only won twice - the Sha Tin Mile Trophy, in 2012 and the Champions Mile in 2013. He has won twice since both were in Singapore in 2014 and 2015. Maybe the 2,000m will suit his current form, but a win is a big ask.

Staphanos (JPN)
Owner: U Carrot Farm
Trainer: Hideaki Fujiwara
Since finishing second to Blazing Speed in the QE II Cup in April, trainer Fujiwara has had the HK Cup in his sights for the 4 yr old bay Staphanos. He showed form with a charging second to Lovely Day last start in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) and finished behind both Nuovo Record and A Shin Hikari this year, but looks the best suited of the Japanese horses in the big race; a major player.

Gailo Chop (FR)
Owner: OTI Management Pty Ltd
Trainer: Antoine de Watrigant
The season has been slightly disappointing for the 4 yr old gelding with his best performance being a second on soft ground to Solow in the Prix d'Ispahan. Although impressive over the straight course at Maisons-Laffitte in a Group Three he was disappointing in the Cox Plate, when he struggled to breathe. Treat with caution.

Satono Aladdin (JPN)
Owner: Hajime Satomi
Trainer: Yasutoshi Ikee
Whilst the 4yr old has not shown as a major player thus far, placings to A Shin Hikari and Danon Platina have been significant, notching up a good fourth to Maurice in the Mile Championship last Sunday. The step up in trip might suit him, along with the probably pace; he will probably be somewhere around the mark, but could he win?

Beauty Only (IRE)
Owner: Eleanor Kwok Law Kwai-chun & Patrick Kwok Ho-chuen
Trainer: Tony Cruz
A 4 yr old bay gelding who began his career in Italy (under the name Gentleman Only) he won three of his four starts as a two-year-old, including a Group Three success. His arrival in Hong Kong saw him easily win in Class Three at his first start. Progressed quickly, taking the Hong Kong Classic Mile at his fifth start, followed by a disappointing form. Though he seems to have returned well since, there is doubt whether this race has come too quickly for him.

A Shin Hikari (JPN)
Owner: Eishindo Co Ltd
Trainer: Masanori Sakaguchi
This 4yr old grey is a tearaway leader who grinds his rivals into submission - tactics which have been successful gaining him eight wins from 10 starts. A Group One win is likely soon, although he will need the right pace for it to happen. Was not allowed to let run in the Tenno Sho last time out behind Lovely Day and he weakened, so expectations are that he will revert to his previous tearaway tactics at Sha Tin.

Free Port Lux (GB)
Owner: Olivier Thomas
Trainer: Teddy Head
Free Port Lux, the 4 yr old bay, makes his second Asian appearance this year, having finished fifth to Dan Excel in the Singapore Airlines International Cup in May. He has been out of sorts since finishing second-last in last year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe but on his last start, in the Prix Dollar, he finally found some semblance of form again, although that was a pretty weak race this year. It’s difficult to see him making up significant ground to win.

Lucia Valentina (NZ)
Owner: Lib Petagna
Trainer: Kris Lees
The 5 yr old mare began her career in New Zealand by winning a Group Three at her third start before finishing second to Rising Romance at her final New Zealand start. Then transferred to Kris Lees in Australia, she progressed to win the lead-up to the Australian Oaks, then finished third, again to Rising Romance, in the Oaks itself. She finished third as favourite in the Caulfield Cup and has not been the same since and on current form it’s doubtful she can keep up with leaders.

Nuovo Record (JPN)
Owner: Reiko Hara
Trainer: Makoto Saito
As a three-year-old filly last year, Nuovo Record had a number of memorable battles with Harp Star, finishing third in the 1000 Guineas, the Oka Sho, before holding her off when stepping up to the mile and a half in the Japanese Oaks. This year has been slightly disappointing, although far from disgraced against some of the better Japanese horses around. She won the Nakayama Kinen followed by a fifth and a sixth but second in her last two, including a testing second to Marialite in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup against the mares. Will take a huge effort in this race, but not beyond her.

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