Won by Alec Laird’s London News in 1997, and Mike de Kock with Irridescence in 2006 and Archipenko in 2008, the HK$24 million Gr1 Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup to be run at Sha Tin on Sunday 29 April is likely to host an internationally representative for the 2018 renewal.
Overseas raiders have captured the APQEII Cup 12 times since it was first opened to outside competition in 1995, with Maine Chance Farms Silvano winning it in 2001.
A classic winner from Japan, the best of Hong Kong’s talented 10-furlong cohort and a top contender from Aidan O’Brien’s powerful team are among eleven horses selected for a world class edition of the race, one of three Gr1 features on Champions Day.
Also on the bill are the HK$18 million Champions Mile (1600m) and the HK$16 million Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m). This year marks the first time that all three races will be staged on one day.
The HK$16 million Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) is in its third year as a Gr 1 contest and last year ranked 34th in World’s Best 100 Group 1 Races, making it Hong Kong’s highest-rated race.
A field of 12 top-class sprinters is slated to go to post, including the best from Hong Kong and Japan, and leading speedsters from Europe.
The 12 selections for the HK$18 million Champions Mile feature the South African-bred Singapore Sling from the Tony Millard stable, who ran suuch an outstanding race in the Hong Kong Derby, as well as the rest of Hong Kong’s best milers and Ireland’s Lancaster Bomber from the O’Brien stable.
Lancaster Bomber has placed second five times at Gr1 level, including when behind World Approval in last season’s Breeders’ Cup Mile at Del Mar.
The line-up also includes the current Hong Kong season’s two in-form Gr1 milers: the John Moore-trained Beauty Generation secured the Hong Kong Mile in December and followed up with an elite win in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m); Seasons Bloom snared the Stewards’ Cup for the Danny Shum stable in January under Joao Moreira.