FWD Champions Day at Sha Tin

March 20, 2024

Romantic Warrior seeks another success in the FWD QEII Cup. (HKJC/Alex Evers)

International contenders from Japan, Europe, Australia, UAE and Hong Kong feature in FWD Champions Day entries for April

HKJC Press Release

HAPPY VALLEY—A total of 21 individual international Group 1 winners headlines the entry for FWD Champions Day at Sha Tin on 28 April, when Hong Kong champions Golden Sixty, Romantic Warrior, Lucky Sweynesse, California Spangle and Voyage Bubble will vie with raiders from Japan, Europe, Australia and the United Arab Emirates for overall glory.

Included among the 89 entries bidding for record prize money in the HK$28 million G1 FWD QEII Cup (2000m), HK$22 million G1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m) and HK$22 million Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) are three of the winners of last December’s Group 1s at the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races – Golden Sixty, Romantic Warrior and Lucky Sweynesse.

The international contingent of 48 is headed by Japan with 25 – nine more than last season – Australia (eight), Great Britain (seven), France (four), the United Arab Emirates (three) and Ireland (one) while Hong Kong has 41 entries.

There are 12 individual Group 1 winners entered by overseas stables, including six from Australia – Mr Brightside, Arapaho, Atishu, Kovalica, Lindermann and Shinzo – while Dubai Honour, who has twice previously competed in Hong Kong, and Regional, represent Great Britain.

Japanese Group 1 victors Liberty Island, Champagne Color and Danon Scorpion crown the Land of the Rising Sun’s formidable batch of nominees, while the United Arab Emirates Group 1 winner Measured Time has also been nominated.

Hong Kong’s entry includes nine individual Group 1 winners, including the incomparable Golden Sixty, who is being prepared to chase an 11th career Group 1 and a remarkable fourth consecutive victory in the FWD Champions Mile.

Francis Lui’s superstar could face dual Group 1 winner California Spangle and Voyage Bubble in the FWD Champions Mile, while the world’s top-rated sprinter Lucky Sweynesse will bid for a fifth elite success by defending his Chairman’s Sprint Prize crown. Romantic Warrior will chase a third FWD QEII Cup triumph, which would add to an already phenomenal 2023/24 campaign capped by victories in the G1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m), the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) and G1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m).

G1 Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m) winner Victor The Winner will chase a second Hong Kong Group 1 success for Danny Shum in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize and this Sunday (24 March) could clash in the G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen (1200m) at Chukyo Racecourse with a string of crack Japanese speedsters, who are also entered for next month’s showpiece at Sha Tin – Champagne Color, Kimiwa Queen, Lugal, Mad Cool, Matenro Orion and Toshin Macau.

Hong Kong’s armada of individual Group 1 winners also includes reigning Hong Kong Champion Stayer Russian Emperor, last-start Happy Valley winner Moments In Time and G1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) victor Little Brose, who is yet to start in Hong Kong for David Hayes.

Prognosis will make his third visit to Hong Kong. (HKJC/Alex Evers)
Prognosis will make his third visit to Hong Kong. (HKJC/Alex Evers)

Prognosis is slated to make his third visit to Hong Kong after bolting in the G2 Kinko Sho (2000m) at Chukyo on 10 March, winning by five lengths under Yuga Kawada for trainer Mitsumasa Nakauchida.

The Deep Impact gelding’s two previous sorties to Sha Tin yielded a fifth in the 2023 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup and a surging second in the 2023 FWD QEII Cup – both behind Romantic Warrior.

William Haggas-trained Dubai Honour, a dual Group 1 winner in Australia, could also return for a third Hong Kong tilt, having finished fourth to Japan’s Loves Only You in the 2021 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup and third behind Romantic Warrior and Prognosis in the 2023 FWD QEII Cup.

Eight horses selected to run in the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (24 March) – Chill Chibi, Galaxy Patch, Helene Feeling, Ka Ying Generation, Helios Express, Massive Sovereign, Star Mac and Unbelievable – hold entries for FWD Champions Day.

Hong Kong’s contingent is bolstered by a host of established and emerging performers including Beauty Eternal, Beauty Joy, Encountered, Happy Together, Invincible Sage, Lucky With You, Money Catcher, Nervous Witness, Nimble Nimbus, Red Lion, Sight Success, Straight Arron, Sword Point, Taj Dragon andHowdeepisyourlove.

Mr Andrew Harding, The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Executive Director, Racing, said: “We are excited by the spread and quality of international entries among the nominations for FWD Champions Day.

Golden Sixty chases a fourth consecutive victory in the FWD Champions Mile. (HKJC/Alex Evers)
Golden Sixty chases a fourth consecutive victory in the FWD Champions Mile. (HKJC/Alex Evers)

“The potential return of Golden Sixty in the FWD Champions Mile after his stunning LONGINES Hong Kong Mile performance in December, along with Romantic Warrior in the FWD QEII Cup and Lucky Sweynesse in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize, lays the foundation for another wonderful staging of our spring flagship meeting.

“We are delighted at the support we have received from overseas owners and trainers in Japan, England, France, Ireland, Australia and the United Arab Emirates, with the number of entries across our three Group 1 features rising from 71 last season to 89 this year.

“With 48 entries in total from abroad and 41 from Hong Kong, Hong Kong is poised to showcase international racing at its best with the presence of elite horses and champion jockeys and trainers at FWD Champions Day next month.”

A total of 41 entries have been received for the FWD QEII Cup, an increase of six on last season, the FWD Champions Mile has attracted 32 nominations, double the 2022/23 entry, and the Chairman’s Sprint Prize has 32 nominations, one more than last season.

FWD Champions Day – Entries

FWD QEII Cup

FWD Champions Mile

Chairman’s Sprint Prize

@jonathanstettin as always, great read! you are the the best!!!

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