The Longines Hong Kong Mile, worth US$3.226m, originally run as the 7-furlong International Bowl, was initiated in 1991 when won by Additional Risk. It wasn’t until 1999 that the race became a Group 1 contest and was increased to the mile distance.
Golden Ba Ba won three straight Longines Hong Kong Miles (2007/2008/2009), while other notable winners have been Beauty Generation (2017/2018), Monopolize (1995/1996), Maurice (2015), and Jim And Tonic (1998).
2020 Longines Hong Kong Mile
Local five-year-old horse Golden Sixty recently became only the fourth horse in Hong Kong racing history to win 10 consecutive races, and now bids for his first Group 1 success. The rising star won the Four-Year-Old Classic Series last season, and has claimed prestigious races such as the Group 3 Celebration Cup, Group 2 Sha Tin Trophy and Group 2 Jockey Club Mile.
The son of Medaglia d’Oro must beat off last year’s victor, Japan’s three-time Group 1 winner Admire Mars. He won this race as a three-year-old in 2019, becoming the first horse of that age to claim the contest in 16 years.
Other major challengers could be Longines Hong Kong Mile runner-up in 2019 and former Group 1 Stewards’ Cup winning horse, Waikuku, and dual race winner and 8-time Group 1 victor Beauty Generation, who will be ridden by the race’s joint winning-most rider, Zac Burton, who shares three successes with Olivier Doleuze.
The biggest danger, however, may be Aidan O’Brien’s 2020 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner, Order Of Australia. The lightly race son of Coolmore stallion Australia has a record of three wins from eight starts, having run mostly over middle distances in the earlier part of the season. He seemed to find his optimum distance when causing a major surprise with his win at 73/1 in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland under French jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot, who maintains the partnership this weekend.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s top-class racing action, Aidan O’Brien said of Order Of Australia:
“He did very well to win in America and everything has gone well with him since. The plan we had was the Breeders’ Cup Mile but we weren’t sure if we were going to get in. We always had in our heads that if he got in and ran a big race, we would see if he would get invited to Hong Kong because the two races that would suit him were the Breeders’ Cup Mile and the Hong Kong Mile. Both are flat tracks with nice ground.”
The Tony Cruz-trained Ka Ying Star is a tough galloper who has been twice placed at the top level, though his most recent two races have seen him finish as runner-up in Group 2 contests.
Southern Legend is a dual Group 1 Kranji Mile winner in Singapore and defeated 8-time Group 1 victor Beauty Generation in the FWD Champions Mile last season.
Another interesting runner is the other Irish-trained colt Romanised. The five-year-old, trained by Ken Condon and ridden by Billy Lee, won the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas in his three-year-old season, and is also a Group 1 winner in France. Though the son of Holy Roman Emperor began the 2020 season with a Group 2 win at The Curragh, Ireland, not much has gone to plan for the Robert Ng entire since.
Simply Brilliant is a six-time winner in Hong Kong from 25 starts. The son of Juddmonte Farms’ Frankel won the 2019 Group 3 January Cup, while he was also placed in the 2019 FWD Champions Mile.
Mighty Giant is a solid galloper and is progressive in handicaps but could struggle in this company on Sunday. His most recent run saw him finish fourth in the Group 2 Jockey club Mile.
Photo HKJC: Order of Australia on left