The Longines Hong Kong Vase is run over 1m 4 furlongs and was first won by Red Bishop in 1994. It was granted Group 2 status in 1996 before becoming a Group 1 in 2000.
Ireland’s perennial champion trainer Aidan O’Brien is a two-time winner of the race, both times with the Coolmore partners-owned Highland Reel. The colt was very consistent in the race, winning in 2015, finishing second in 2016, before ending his career in style with his second victory in the race in 2017.
Two other horses have won the Vase twice: Luso (1996/1997) and Doctor Dino (2007/2008), while other notable winners of the Longines Hong Kong Vase include Daliapour (2000), Ouija Board (2005), Red Cadeaux (2012) and Exultant (2018).
2020 Longines Hong Kong Vase
Five-time Group 1 winner Exultant will bid to recapture his US$2.58m Hong Kong Vase, won last year by Japan’s Glory Vase. Exultant, Hong Kong’s Horse of the Year in 2019-20, has proven himself to be one of the world’s top stayers.
The O’Brien-trained Mogul, a dominant Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris winner two starts ago beating In Swoop, who subsequently finished second in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, should post the biggest threat to Exultant.
The three-year-old son of Galileo was the most expensive yearling sold at public auction worldwide in 2018, when bought for 3.4 million guineas at the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.
Jockey Ryan Moore, winner of the Longines Hong Kong Vase twice aboard Highland Reel, and who takes the ride on Mogul, said of the race’s second favourite:
“Mogul is a very high-class colt. He’s a beautiful horse; we’ve always held him high regard. He took a while to come to hand this year but you’ll see him out on the track – he’s very well-made, a very strong colt.”
According to the horse’s handler, Aidan O’Brien, Mogul was undone by the steady pace in the Breeders’ Cup Turf on his last run.
“He wants an even pace,” O’Brien disclosed, before adding, “he can quicken off an even pace but in America it was a mess really. He still ran very well and we were happy with his run and we’ve been very happy with him since.”
The expensive son of Galileo didn’t seem to show his potential on the racecourse until his win in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris this summer, a race his brother, Japan, had previously won.
“We always thought a lot more of him than he was showing in his runs until Longchamp,” O’Brien offers. “The Grand Prix de Paris was a good race and it was the first time we really took the decision to drop him out completely, take our time on him and ride him for pace. That’s what we did and it worked very well – it was a properly-run race.”
French raider Royal Julius is a seasoned traveller having won the 2019 Bahrain International Trophy and the 2018 Group 2 Premio Presidente della Repubblica in Italy. This season, however, he finished one from last in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp.
Ho Ho Khan is a Grade 3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup winner from last year, while Chefano was well beaten against Exultant and has struggled in three runs this season.
Columbus County, a one-time BMW Hong Kong Derby winner, has only over a length to make up on Exultant from their most recent meeting, and Playa Del Puente, a triple winner in Ireland, is only 1-11 in Hong Kong. The 2020 BMW Hong Kong Derby runner-up to Golden Sixty is the outsider of the 7-runner field.
Photo HKJC: Hong Kong Vase contender Royal Julius