Racing

All's well with Quechua

Singapore's LONGINES Hong Kong Vase hopeful has first feel of Sha Tin track

Singapore's LONGINES Hong Kong Vase representative QUECHUA had his first feel of the Sha Tin track yesterday morning, a day after his safe arrival.

He was reported to be on his toes and a little warm, which was apparently normal for the horse.

The Patrick Shaw-trained champion stayer jogged and cantered a couple of circuits of the all-weather track under Kranji-based jockey Nooresh Juglall, who has been granted a licence by The Hong Kong Jockey Club until Dec 27.

However, it will be jockey Barend Vorster riding Quechua in the 2,400m Vase, which is the longest of the four LONGINES Hong Kong International Races.

The others are the Hong Kong Sprint over 1,200m, the Hong Kong Mile over 1,600m and the Hong Kong Cup over 2,000m.

Vorster was happy with Quechua's condition.

"Everything's good with him. He's taken the four-hour flight from Singapore really well. He hasn't lost any weight and that's a good sign," said the Kranji-based South African, who rode Singapore's flying machine Rocket Man in the Hong Kong Sprint in 2011.

EIGHT VICTORIES

Quechua, whose eight victories included the Longines Singapore Gold Cup and Emirates Singapore Derby, both Group 1 features, is a last-minute inclusion in the Vase following the withdrawal of Japan's Erupt.

The Avengers Stable-owned Argentinian-bred will face some of the world's best stayers in the HK$16.5 million ($3 million) International Group 1 feature.

His challengers included the fearsome Aidan O'Brien-trained defending Vase champion HIGHLAND REEL, who recently won the Breeders' Cup Turf over 2,400m, Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud winner SILVERWAVE from France and Japanese Oaks winner NUOVO RECORD, who recently made history by becoming the first Japanese-bred and trained horse to win at Del Mar, America.

Highland Reel worked 800m on the all-weather track yesterday morning in 1min 01.0sec, with sectional times of 15.3sec, 15.2sec, 16.7sec and 14.7sec.

"He is a great traveller, and I can tell you that when he arrived here at Sha Tin, his head came up, he looked around him, and he knew exactly where he was," said O'Brien's travelling head lad Pat Keating.

"He's well and I've no worries about him, everything is good."

After undergoing little more than a leg-stretch on Monday, Silverwave cantered a lap of the Sha Tin all-weather track yesterday morning.

"He is pleasing us. He has recovered well from the journey and is in good condition. Yesterday was just to get him out and to accustom him to the track," said trainer Pascal Bary's assistant Fabrice Dolbois.

"This morning, he cantered and did it nicely. I think he will get out on the turf track on Thursday. It is the first time he has travelled but he has taken it well.

"Like any human, he was a bit tired when he arrived. The bonus is that he seems very calm because generally he is a slightly nervous individual but he is maturing now."

 

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