HONG KONG – Musir, who drew a blank in three races in Dubai earlier this year, will represent South Africa in the BMW Champions Mile at Sha Tin on Monday 25 April.
He arrived in Hong Kong on Saturday, along with River Jetez, who will be contesting the R1.8-million QEII Cup over 2000m at Hong Kong’s premier racecourse on Sunday 1 May.
Musir, like his stable companion Golden Sword, was confounded by the slow pace of the $10-million Dubai World Cup – his most recent start – and finished a 3.25-length seventh behind Japanese runner Victoir Pisa. He was runner-up – to Skysurfers and Twice Over respectively – in his previous two starts at Meydan this year.
His trainer Mike de Kock has proved to be a formidable foe in international races in Hong Kong in the past, with Irridescence and Archipenko winning the QEII Cup and Eagle Mountain taking the honours in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup.
Another South African, Tony Millard – who is based in Hong Kong – will field Sparkling Power.
The form comments for the BMW Champions Mile (G1) 1600m Turf
Presvis – Grand international galloper who comes to Hong Kong for the fourth time and arrives in the form of his life after great performance and great ride in the Dubai Duty Free. Won the QEII Cup in 2009 and finished second in the Singapore Airlines International Cup that year. Also ran third in the 2009 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup and was fifth in the QEII Cup last year. Has been astutely placed to build big prize-money total. Strong finisher who has to be ridden cold. Proven right handed and while he prefers good ground, it was yielding when he won here in 2009.
Able One – Winner of the Champions Mile in 2007 and again in 2010. Impressive victor of the Jockey Club Mile last November before being scratched from Hong Kong Mile on vet’s advice (leg injury). Returned to racing early this month with satisfactory effort over unsuitable 1000m course. Second in the 2008 Hong Kong Mile after just one lead-up run at 1200m. Likes good ground, but acts on softer. Races handy, can lead.
Red Jazz – Strong effort last start in Dubai when a 3.80-length third behind Skysurfers in the G2 Godolphin Mile. That was his first run since October last year when he was an easy G2 winner over Cat Junior at Newmarket. Has not won beyond 1400m but Group 1 placings at this distance suggest the distance is within his grasp. OK right-handed, races prominently and has form on good and good-to-soft ground.
Beauty Flash – Sound when a 1.50-length third to Able One in this race last year. In great condition from December to March with three excellent on-pace wins at 1400m and 1600m at Sha Tin. Below absolute best but not disgraced when beaten 5.80 lengths by Presvis in the G1 Dubai Duty Free over 1800m – better suited to 1600m. Usually races on the speed. Likes good ground or quicker, no experience of soft.
Musir – The 2010 UAE Derby winner. The bulk of his racing has been on the Tapeta at Meydan but was a winner on turf in South Africa early in his career. Was bound for Australia after his Derby win but returned to Mike de Kock for three runs in Dubai this season. Ran good seconds behind Skysurfers and Twice Over before finishing only 3.30 lengths in seventh behind Victoire Pisa in the Dubai World Cup. Settled back in that race and it was tough to make up the ground. Strong finisher who has only raced on good ground or synthetic surface.
Flying Blue – Boasts a superb record in just seven starts in Hong Kong after winning by big margin on debut in New Zealand. Chases his fourth win in a row after a strong performance to beat Thumbs Up in the HKG2 Chairman’s Trophy. Races handily but has not yet raced on genuinely soft ground. Untapped potential.
Royal Bench – Made late ground after being held up in the straight when a 2.50-length fourth to Presvis in the Dubai Duty Free. Charged late here last December when second to Beauty Flash in the Hong Kong Mile. Big finisher who handles all track conditions and proven right handed.
Let Me Fight – Crowded shortly after the start and then reluctant to settle but made late ground when fourth to Flying Blue in the HKG2 Chairman’s Trophy at his first attempt at this distance. Best performance to date was a 1.50-length fourth to JJ The Jet Plane in the Hong Kong Sprint last December. Runs on strongly and is open to further improvement. Not exposed to soft ground.
Lucky Nine – Raced handily to beat Xtension at his first attempt at 1600m (HKG1 HK Classic Mile) in January. Then ran well behind eventual Hong Kong Derby winner Ambitious Dragon when stepped up to 1800m (HKG1 HK Classic Cup), before a good effort behind Beauty Flash in the HKG1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup. Promising galloper who races handily. Good on firm ground and has won on a good-to-yielding tracks in Ireland early in his career.
Sunny King – Won four races at 1400m and 1600m at Sha Tin. Has not won at 1600m since 2008 but boasts a neck second to Beauty Flash at the distance in the HKG1 Stewards’ Cup and was checked at start before finishing a 2.80-length fifth behind Able One in this race last year. Good winner at Sha Tin in February before finishing a 0.50-length second to Beauty Flash in the HKG1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup and running a mighty race in Dubai when beaten 2.50 lengths into third behind Rocket Man in the Dubai Golden Shaheen. Strong finisher who prefers good ground.
Thumbs Up – Winner of the 2009 HKG1 HK Classic Mile but then off the winner’s list until October last year when scoring over this course and distance. Ran ninth in this race last year but put up a good effort when beaten only 2.30 lengths into sixth behind Beauty Flash in the 2010 HK Mile. In his first run since then, was a good second to Flying Blue in The Chairman’s Trophy without really threatening the winner. Races held up, and seems to act on any ground.
Xtension – Big finisher, showing good potential in Hong Kong after being Group 1 placed in Europe. Best form on good ground but placed on good-to-soft in France. Ran on well when second to Lucky Nine in the HKG1 HK Classic Mile and also finished well when fourth behind Ambitious Dragon in the HKG1 HK Classic Cup. Ridden closer to the speed in the Hong Kong Derby and finished a length second to Ambitious Dragon.
Sight Winner – Winner of the Champions Mile in 2009 but has not won since. Creditable 2.50-length fourth behind Able One in the 2010 renewal. In the first three in two of his nine starts this season. Trailed leader and battled on well in his most recent outing behind Flying Blue in the HKG2 Chairman’s Trophy. Ridden on the speed recently and looks best on good ground or faster, although he can also handle softer track.
Good Ba Ba – One time superstar of Hong Kong and the world’s champion miler. The only horse to have won the G1 HK Mile three times, a feat he achieved in successive years. Winner of this race in 2008; was fourth in 2009 and 3.80 lengths behind the winner in eighth last year. His most recent win came in the 2009 HK Mile and he has enjoyed just one top-three finish in nine starts since then. He is a re isHun-on horse who loves fast ground.
Photo: Musir (Kevin Shea), on the work track in Dubai. (Andrew Watkins).