Racing

Southern Legend is back

Defending Kranji Mile champion heads field of 10 for $1.5 million Group 1 race on May 25

As in last year's inaugural race, Hong Kong will be represented by two runners in the $1.5 million Group 1 Kranji Mile over 1,600m on May 25, headed by defending champion Southern Legend.

With an international rating of 116, the Caspar Fownes-trained galloper heads the 10-horse field.

He is just one point ahead of Debt Collector, who heads the eight entries from Singapore.

Hong Kong's other runner is the Tony Millard-trained Singapore Sling, who is rated at 112.

Millard saddled last year's Kranji Mile runner-up Horse Of Fortune in the invitational race.

Southern Legend may not have visited the winner's circle again since his Kranji triumph last May, but has often been placed in Sha Tin feature races, including a third place behind Hong Kong star Beauty Generation in the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Mile (1,600m) in December.

He was also second in the Group 1 Hong Kong Gold Cup (2,000m) in February.

At his last start, he ran a creditable sixth to Japanese champion mare Almond Eye in the Grade 1 Dubai Turf (1,800m) at Meydan on March 30.

A South African-bred five-year-old by Philanthropist, Singapore Sling was a former winner of South Africa's Grade 2 Dingaans (1,600m) in 2016, before he was exported to Hong Kong.

Though he did not score at Group level in Hong Kong, he did show stacks of promise with two wins, including one in the second leg of the four-year-old series, the Hong Kong Classic (1,800m), before running second in the final leg, the Group 1 BMW Hong Kong Derby (2,000m).

He has been a little in and out since, but he did show a resurgence of form in two starts this campaign, culminating with a solid second to Beauty Generation in the recently run Group 1 Champions Mile (1,600m) on April 28.

Singapore's best hope Debt Collector is unbeaten in his last four starts, including his nail-biting win in the Group 2 Chairman's Trophy (1,600m) at his last start on April 7.

Trainer Cliff Brown has kept his 2016 Singapore Horse of the Year and five-time Group 1 winner fresh for that race.

He is also blessed with another choice representative in Elite Excalibur (105 points), an impressive first-up winner of the Kranji Mile prelude, the Group 3 Moonbeam Vase (1,600m) two Sundays ago.

The other Singapore entries areWar Affair (113), Countofmontecristo (109), Blizzard (108), Clarton Super (108), Preditor (108) and Makanani (105).

HORSE RACING