High-class raiders from Britain and France will take on Hong Kong’s prodigious stars in two fascinating Group 1 features at Sha Tin racecourse on Sunday, 7 May, the $16 million Champions Mile (1600m) and the HK$14 million Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m).
Hong Kong’s brilliant four-year-old Rapper Dragon tops the bill in the eight-runner Champions Mile. John Moore’s history-maker will face a trio of familiar G1 victors, as well as the Ed Walker-trained G1-placed Stormy Antarctic and Sir Michael Stoute’s Convey from Britain.
The Chairman’s Sprint Prize, the fourth leg of the Global Sprint Challenge, features France’s standout sprinter Signs Of Blessing among a field of 14. Francois Rohaut’s speedster is one of a strong line-up of top-class contenders, which is set to include fellow G1 winners Aerovelocity and Peniaphobia, last year’s runner-up Lucky Bubbles and Hong Kong’s latest bullet, Mr Stunning.
Mr Anthony Kelly, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Executive Director, Racing Business and Operations, said: “Last year was the first time that we had the Group 1 double-header of the Champions Mile and the newly-promoted Chairman’s Sprint Prize and we were privileged to enjoy two exceptional races, so it’s pleasing to see that this year we are in for another treat.
“We are especially pleased to have attracted runners from elite stables in Britain and France, which is not easy to achieve at this time year when the European season is just beginning to warm up,” he continued.
“The two races will see established Group 1 stars vie for supremacy against exciting emerging talents, and both promise to be fascinating championship contests. Rapper Dragon will attempt to do what no Hong Kong Derby winner has ever done by adding the Champions Mile to his haul, while the Chairman’s Sprint Prize is another world class race, with Signs Of Blessing on something of a revenge mission against a strong Hong Kong contingent after his good run here in December.”
The Champions Mile ranked equal 19th in the World’s Top 100 Group 1 Races for 2016, while the Chairman’s Sprint Prize, in only its first year as a Group 1 contest, ranked co-49th.