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Imbongi

A POT OF GOLD AT THE END OF THE RAINBOW?

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summerhill radio

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“OF IMBONGI, AQLAAM, CONFRONT AND DREAM EATER” 

What might’ve been, is one of the happier pre-occupations of our business, at least to the extent that you can always consider yourself unlucky not to have won. Dream on, some would say, yet the conventional wisdom among many following Imbongi’s last run in Ascot’s Summer Mile, was that with a better trip he might’ve troubled the judges. Either way, the outcome of France’s biggest mile event last Sunday, certainly gave us renewed reason for conjecture.

According to the Sporting Post, “Aqlaam, winner of last Sunday’s Gr.1 Prix du Moulin, gave the form of SA-bred Imbongi a considerable boost. The son of the red hot sire, Oasis Dream, had previously beaten Imbongi(Russian Revival) by a length at level weights in the Summer Mile. Prior to his Group One success, Aqlaam had run second to wonder filly, Goldikova, beaten six lengths, in the Gr.1 Prix Jacques le Marois.

The form of the Summer Mile has also been franked by runner up, Confront(Nayef), who has won his last two starts. Confront, incidentally, won a listed race at Haydock last Saturday by half a length, giving the runner up three pounds. Behind Imbongi in the Summer Mile came Dream Eater, who dead heated in a listed race and was just touched off by multiple Gr.1 winner, Pressing in the Gr.2 Topkapi Trophy last time out”.

SIX OF THE BEST

summerhill stud grade one
summerhill stud grade one

“A Grade One victory, the Holy Grail of our sport”

(Photo : Summerhill Stud)

“More Bulldust Part 6”

Extract from Summerhill Sires Brochure 2009-2010

When you see the full regalia of six “green” flags hoisted at the Summerhill Stallion barn, be sure there’s a celebration cooking.

That’s the sign of a Grade One victory, the Holy Grail of our sport. Qualifying for a Grade One is an unfailingly accurate gauge of class. You need it to get there, and you refine it by staying there.

In recent times, the “green” flags have been doing a lot of fluttering at Summerhill. A Gold Cup hero, a Flying Championship ace and a Garden Province queen.

And just to show that class is a way of life at Summerhill, dual Guineas victor Imbongi, Paris Perfect and Art of War have been blazing their own trails across the sands of Dubai. At the highest level.

What it all comes down to, is this. The best of land, the best of people, and the best of care. And there’s no such thing as a “minor” detail.

In fact, you could say it’s what makes Summerhill Summerhill.

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please email Marlene at info@summerhill.co.za for your copy

of the world’s number one Sires brochure.

Click below to read “Bulldust”

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5

bulldust part 1
bulldust part 1
bulldust part 2
bulldust part 2
bulldust part 3
bulldust part 3
bulldust part 4
bulldust part 4
bulldust part 5
bulldust part 5

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High Praise for IMBONGI

bayete imbongi
bayete imbongi

Please click above to watch video

(Footage : YouTube)

“Let’s all sing Imbongi’s praises”

Extract from The Times

The GeeGees : Mike Moon

It’s ironic that a horse called Imbongi has been one of the least ballyhooed of South Africa’s growing band of equine exports – especially as he’s quite possibly the best of them.

An imbongi is, of course, a praise singer in Zulu and Xhosa culture – the guy in traditional gear who heralds the arrival of an important leader on grand occasions. Whistling and waving sticks, the imbongi yells out the achievements and virtues of the approaching big cheese.

We used to love it so when President Mandela’s imbongi did his thing, affirming our devotion to Madiba and his deeds.

Praise singing of our high and mighty has lost its spark. Perhaps it’s due to post-’94-miracle cynicism. It can’t be that we don’t believe the big shots have any virtues. Surely not.

The most excitement generated by an Imbongi of late has been among the British racing establishment.

The horse from Mooi River has only raced twice in the UK, yet this week the respected Timeform agency gave him a lofty rating of 121.

This places Imbongi among the top half percent of horses racing in the world today.

There’s talk of jetting him across the Atlantic to Chicago in a fortnight’s time for a shot at the prestigious Arlington Million.

This is far removed from the sorry sight at a thoroughbred auction in Germiston 18 months ago when the young Imbongi left the sale ring in ignominy after failing to attract a bid from the assembled clever clogs of South African racing.

He went home to Summerhill Stud in the Midlands where champion breeder Mick Goss – a truly clever chap who’d loved the colt from day one – put him into race training in hope that he’d eventually make it to a track.

Summerhill had thought out Imbongi’s pedigree carefully, mating sire Russian Revival (Timeform 125) to a daughter of another world-class racehorse, Foveros (120). For lineage anoraks: the Northern Dancer (Russian Revival’s grandsire) cross with a Teddy line mare had produced the legendary Nijinsky.

Imbongi is proof that sometimes a plan comes together.

Racing doyen Ronnie Napiervisited Summerhill, took a shine to Imbongi, and formed an owner partnership with the stud farm and a few other friends.

It was all the encouragement Imbongi needed. Winning both the Gauteng Guineas and KZN Guineas, and whipping Pocket Power in the Drill Hall Stakes, he became the best middle distance horse of his generation.

Sheikh Khalifa of Dubai bought in and it was off overseas.

After scooting to victory in a grade 3 event at Newmarket, Imbongi ran a close-up third in a grade 2 at Ascot. The latter race was described as the best mile form in the world this year and Timeform passed judgment.

The chestnut with the handsome head is finally being taken seriously. Time to start yelling.

Aforementioned Pocket Power might also race overseas soon. But first the great one has a date at Clairwood in the Champions Cup today – and will surely atone for his fiasco of a run in the Durban July.

john bovington memorial criterion stakes video
john bovington memorial criterion stakes video
ascot summer mile audio
ascot summer mile audio

Click above to experience Imbongi’s last two runs in the

John Bovington Memorial Criterion Stakes and Ascot Summer Mile Stakes

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THE WORLD’S GREATEST RATING AGENCY SPEAKS : IMBONGI SHINES

worlds greatest rating agency
worlds greatest rating agency

Timeform 121

Timeform’s Black Book issued this past week, carries an illuminating statement on one of South Africa’s(and certainly Summerhill’s) favourite sons.

IMBONGI (SAF) close-coupled horse: very smart performer: won Grade 2s at Turffontein and Greyville (2) in 2008: excellent efforts in Grade 1s at Clairwood after, notably when ¾ length second to Dancer’s Daughter in Gold Challenge: as good as ever this year, winning John Bovington Memorial Criterion Stakes at Newmarket in June by 1 ¾lengths from Huntdown, travelling strongly to lead 2f out: creditable third to Aqlaam in Summer Mile at Ascot next time, staying on and nearest finish: stays 9f, at least as effective at 7f: acts on good to firm ground. M F de Kock, South Africa”.”

This is what Timeform had to say in arriving at his 121 rating, which incidentally places him in the same racing class as MULLINS BAY, SOLSKJAER, ADMIRE MAIN and STRONGHOLD, and a few pounds adrift of AP ARROW.His boss needs to be left undisturbed while attempting to attend both the British Open and the first of the England / Australia cricket tests, so we’ll only catch up with Mike de Kock when these things are behind him on IMBONGI’s plans for the Arlington Million.

john bovington memorial criterion stakes video
john bovington memorial criterion stakes video
ascot summer mile audio
ascot summer mile audio

Click above to experience Imbongi’s last two runs in the

John Bovington Memorial Criterion Stakes and Ascot Summer Mile Stakes

TIMEFORM 120 FOR IMBONGI

imbongi timeform 120
imbongi timeform 120

Imbongi joins the elite Timeform 120 club

(Photo : Summerhill Stud)

“THE POWER OF 120”

It’s long been our belief that the greatest way to shape the breed positively, is to use the best racehorses as sires, and we’re on record recently as saying that our bunch is a Timeform 120. That means in order for a horse to get through the eye of the Summerhill needle, he has to impress the judges at the world’s most prestigious racing agency that he’s worthy of a 120, hence the presence in our barn of horses of the ilk of KAHAL, MULLINS BAY, SOLSKJAER, WAY WEST, STRONGHOLD, MALHUB, and now A P ARROW and ADMIRE MAIN. All of whom are 120’s or better, which entitles them to claim the mantle of being among the top ½% of racehorses worldwide.

The latest member of the club is the Summerhill-bred, Emperors Palace Ready to Run graduate IMBONGI, who earned this lofty status with his facile win in the John Bovington Memorial Criterion Stakes (Gr3) at Newmarket in England.

While five consecutive Breeder’s Championships is enough to make any man proud, a performance of IMBONGI’s class against the best the world has to offer, given South Africa’s isolated history, is new turf for us and he joins PARIS PERFECT and ART OF WAR among Summerhill-raised horses to have performed with distinction at the elite international level this year.

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The Rags to Riches story of IMBONGI

ready to run

Emperors Palace Ready to Run graduate, unwanted in the sales ring, turned adversity to advantage when he won the first of two Guineas in May last year. His rags to riches story saw him beat the pants off multiple Group One winner, Russian Sage, in the KZN version of the Guineas. He then took matters to another level, when he beat Horse of the Year, Pocket Power, and three other Group One winners with consummate ease, in the Drill Hall Stakes.

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IMBONGI : Arlington Million charge for The Warrior

mike de kock and imbongi
mike de kock and imbongi

Mike de Kock and the warrior Imbongi

(Photo : John Lewis/DRC)

“Mike de Kock considering Arlington Million for Imbongi”

Following Imbongi’s fighting third in Saturday’s totesport.com Summer Mile Stakes at Ascot, Mike de Kock is now considering an Arlington Million charge for the African Warrior.

Imbongi had made a successful British debut in the John Bovington Memorial Criterion Stakes (Gr3) at Newmarket over seven furlongs just two weeks ago, and followed that performance with Saturday’s Ascot Group Two third, being beaten only a length by Aqlaam who is rated 117 and is rumored to be heading for the Breeders’ Cup.

“That was a world-class run,” said trainer Mike de Kock. “We’re considering the Arlington Million next for Imbongi.”

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Summer Mile Stakes - Race Commentary

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summerhill radio

Totesport.com Summer Mile Stakes G2

Ascot, UK

11 July 2009

GBP 100,000

1st Aqlaam

2nd Confront

3rd Imbongi (Russian Revival x Garden Verse)

Jockey : Kevin Shea

Trainer : Mike de Kock

Breeder : Summerhill Stud

Owners : Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum

Michael Fleischer

Summerhill Syndicate

Owen Liebrandt

Barry Clements

Ronnie Napier

aqlaam confront imbongi
aqlaam confront imbongi

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THE SUMMER MILE STAKES AT ASCOT

imbongi summer mile challenger
imbongi summer mile challenger

Imbongi

(Photo : Summerhill/HKJC)

IMBONGI’S BIGGEST CHALLENGE

The Summer Mile Stakes has always been a good race, as it provides an opportunity for the best milers in Europe to maintain their sharpness while they’re waiting for the next big Group One challenge later in the season. We doubt though, that the race has ever attracted the quality of contenders that line-up on Saturday at 2:50 pm (that’s English time, of course, which means 3:50pm here).

The first three past the post in Royal Ascot’s Queen Anne Stakes (Gr.1), Paco Boy, Cesare and Aqlaam, line up again here, and so Imbongi will really have his work cut out if he’s to feature in the money. According to Racing Post, he’s in with something of a squeak, as the fourth highest rated horse in the field. Paco Boy and Cesare each have a Racing Post rating of 135, Aqlaam 134, and Imbongi 133, which means there’s not much in it, if ratings matter. Of course, that’s not to say there aren’t others in the field, but it certainly seems, on current form, these are the chief protagonists.

What the race will certainly do, is tell us where Imbongi sits in the pantheon of the worlds best milers, because this just about represents the best form in the world this year. From all accounts, he’s well and ready to run, so for South Africa’s sake, let’s keep everything crossed.

IMBONGI : THE WARRIOR'S RETURN

imbongi-john-bovington-(daily-mail).jpg

Imbongi

John Bovington Memorial Criterion Stakes Gr3

(Photo : Daily Mail)

“IMBONGI takes England’s biggest race of the weekend”

All week, Mike de Kock has been tipping Imbongi as the horse who thrived most since his string arrived in the UK. When Imbongi had done and dusted the Criterion Stakes (Gr.3) in facile fashion his pilot, Kevin Shea dismounted with the announcement that this was just the beginning. He felt the horse could step up from here, and while he was non-committal about where he would go in the next month or so, knowing Mike de Kock, he’s likely to make the progression to Group 2 level, and then cast his eyes towards something like the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Gr.1) at Ascot in September.

Like so many others in Mike de Kock’s yard, Imbongi really battled in Dubai, and was nowhere near his best, but Saturday he put all the ghosts away, and his form at last, approached the spectacles South African racegoers became accustomed to in his dual Guineas sagas and his demolition of four Grade One winners, including Horse of The Year, Pocket Power, in last year’s Drill Hall Stakes (Gr.2).

Don’t forget though, this was a horse that was turned out of the ring unsold at the Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run, and it took a man of Ronnie Napier’s decades in racing to recognise his potential on a frosty Saturday morning at the Summerhill gallops. So much for the unwanted child!

P.S. There was a double celebration in this one. Imbongi’s was the first winner from Sheikh Mohammed’s newly acquired Abingden Place yard, Mike’s English headquarters. If it weren’t for the Sheikh’s enterprise and his love of the game, we’d not’ve been in England.

john bovington memorial criterion stakes video link
john bovington memorial criterion stakes video link

Watch the John Bovington Memorial Criterion Stakes (Gr3)

Imbongi to make European debut

IMBONGI
“traditional poet of the Zulu or Xhosa people who composes poetry
in praise of a leader”
(Photo : HKJC/inkokhelo/Nicholas Goss/AfricanSkies)

News filtering in from the UK is that Imbongi is set to make his European debut at Newmarket’s July Course this Saturday afternoon, June 27. (16h25 our time on DSTV Channel232)

Following a string of fine efforts in Hong Kong and Dubai earlier in the year, Mike de Kock’s charge is one of 18 challengers entered for the £65,000 Group Three John Bovington Memorial Criterion Stakes to be run over seven-furlongs.

The South African fighter finished a staying-on sixth last time out in the Group One Champions Mile at Sha Tin on April 26. Imbongi had previously been fourth in two Group Two races at Nad Al Sheba and was narrowly denied on his seasonal debut at the same course in a valuable seven-furlong handicap, when he just failed to collar Hatta Fort.

In South Africa last year, the Summerhill-bred Imbongi proved himself to be one of the leading milers of his generation, starting with electrifying victories in the Grade Two Gauteng Guineas at Turffontein in March and the Grade Two KZN Guineas at Greyville in April before returning to Greyville in May to destroy five previous Grade One winners in the Grade Two Drill Hall Stakes, including South African “Horse of the Year, Pocket Power.

Mike de Kock revealed to Newmarket Racecourse correspondents : “Imbongi is an intended runner in the John Bovington Memorial Criterion Stakes as things stand. He worked on the Rowley Mile with Diana’s Choice two weeks ago and he took it well. I think that seven furlongs to a mile is his best trip and the forecast ground should be an advantage for him.”

“We had some poor ventilation in Dubai and some of the horses bled out there but he still showed a decent level of form, including when he finished in front of Vodka in a Group Two in March.”

“It wasn’t a bad performance in Hong Kong either, when he ran from quite far back. Alexandros was a neck behind him on that occasion and he went on to be second in the Lockinge Stakes, so we have some collateral form to work with.”

“Some of the top milers around ran in that race and he was too far out of his ground, but he still ran on well in the closing stages. We will hopefully start him off at Newmarket and then take his season from there.”

Imbongi looks set to face some tough opposition including Racer Forever, who got the better of King Of Dixie in a thrilling finish to last year’s race. Subsequent Group One winner Court Masterpiece was also narrowly denied in 2005 and the nine-year-old, now in the care of John Quinn after a spell at stud, could return to Newmarket following a fine third in a York conditions race on his first start for more than two years.

Ancien Regime may make his Godolphin debut following a progressive three-year-old campaign for Michael Jarvis that included victory in the Coral.co.uk Sprint on the Rowley Mile and a close sixth in the Group One Sprint Cup at Doncaster in September, while Huntdown, third in last year’s Group One Shadwell Middle Park Stakes, could also make his first appearance for Saeed bin Suroor, having previously been trained by John Gosden.

Other notable entries include Winker Watson, who enjoyed Group Two success on the July Course in the TNT July Stakes in 2007, last season’s Group One Stan James sponsored 1000 Guineas fifth Dream Eater, as well as Laa Rayb and Balthazaar’s Gift, who were third and fourth respectively in the Group Two Victor Chandler Challenge Stakes on the Rowley Mile in October.

Hong Kong Champions Mile Group 1 : POST MORTEM


Champions Mile Gr1 2009
Sha Tin, Hong Kong

Mike de Kock is back in South Africa, so we can all breathe a sigh of relief. The man is a national treasure, and when it comes to the reputation of South African racehorses and their exportability, nobody’s done more for the game. We picked up on him shortly after he landed, and his feelings about Imbongi’s run (he finished just on two lengths behind the winner), was that he would’ve been a lot closer had he not lost ground on the bend. There was no explanation for it, other than the horse had a little bit of the “slows” midway through the race, yet he ran on resolutely, to get within two lengths of the winner, winding up 6th with a cheque in hand.

Mike’s feeling is that the setbacks his horses suffered in Dubai in the month leading to the World Cup, left them a little short in terms of their preparations, and he feels we’ll see a good bit of improvement when they start up their motors in England in the next month or two. Stay with us, there’ll be more to come from Imbongi.

ANTHONY DELPECH : A Star in Racing's Firmament

There are not many of us who understand what it takes to be a world-class race jockey. One man who’s had an almost uncanny association with the best horses from Summerhill, is Anthony Delpech.

THE CHAMPIONS MILE (Gr.1) : Sunday dawns in Hong Kong

Imbongi 23 April 2009
(Photo : Hong Kong Jockey Club)

You can go into any worthwhile website on racing anywhere in the world right now, and you can pick up news of this weekend’s big events in Hong Kong, including the Champions Mile. However, the one thing you won’t get is a statement from the horse’s mouth, so we thought we’d bring you news of our most recent bulletin from Mike de Kock, who sends our home-bred, Imbongi to post on Sunday.

Anyone hoping to make any sort of impression in this race would have to take history into account in their calculations, knowing that in all its time, the Hong Kong Champions Mile has yet to witness a placed runner among its foreign raiders, and that last year’s spectacular hero, Good Ba Ba reached the post in an amazing 1min 31.3 secs, and you know what you’re up against.

However, Mike de Kock is of the firm view that Imbongi is a real contender, provided he is over the troubles which confronted so many of the Mike de Kock stable in Dubai over the World Cup, and if Imbongi can get back to a modicum of the form which carried him to stardom in two Guineas and a triumph over Horse Of The Year, Pocket Power ans well as four other Grade One winners in the Drill Hall last season. Mike tells us though, that Imbongi managed an official “bullet” 21,5 secs for the last 400m of his final workout on Tuesday. If that’s not notice he’s ready to run for his life, tell us what is?

Keep your heads down, there could be an explosion Sunday morning (9:55 am our time).

Imbongi and Archipenko working well in Hong Kong

imbongi and archipenkoArchipenko (left) and Imbongi (right)
(Photo : www.racingweb.co.za)

Racingweb reports that Archipenko and Imbongi enjoyed a refreshing time in the wash bay after their Saturday workout at Sha-Tin racecourse in Hong Kong.

Mike de Kock’s runners are being prepared for this week’s Audemars Piguet QEII Cup and Hong Kong Mile respectively and assistant trainer Steven Jell tells racingweb.co.za: “Archie with Kevin Shea and Imbongi ridden by Jeff Lloyd worked together over 1400m on the grass track proper at Sha-Tin today (Saturday) and they were impressive.”

“We’ve had quite a lot of rain so the track is in good condition. They picked up speed from the 800m mark and completed the last 400m in an official 21.5s, very good. Both are looking well and we’re looking forward to next week.”

Mike de Kock himself will be jetting to Hong Kong within the next few days.

HONG KONG BECKONS : SUMMERHILL WILL BE THERE

hong kong horse racingScenes from Hong Kong
(Photo : Hong Kong Jockey Club)

“A piece from Mick Goss”

Growing up in one of the remotest parts of the world as the son of a Pondo trader, I never imagined myself as the owner of an international class racehorse, let alone partnering a member of a nation’s ruling family and running for R14million, at Group One level. Yet that is what Imbongi has done for Summerhill Stud, and next weekend he gets his chance to take on some of the world’s best milers in the Hong Kong Mile (Gr.1). His travel mate, Archipenko, showered himself in glory as the hero of last year’s Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (Gr.1), and he returns this year to defend his crown.

Hard on the heels of Summerhill-bred, raised and educated Paris Perfect’s $600,000 romp in the Dubai World Cup (Gr.1), and Art Of War’s stand out billing from Mike de Kock as the “biggest surprise of the Dubai Carnival”, Imbongi now gets his chance to show to the world what made him the most formidable three-year-old miler in South Africa last year.

Keep a check on Mike de Kock’s website for all the latest news from Hong Kong.

Visit
www.mikedekockracing.com

Archipenko and Imbongi arrive in Hong Kong

Imbongi arrives in Hong Kong
(Photo : Hong Kong Jockey Club)

News from Mike de Kock is that Archipenko and Imbongi have arrived safely in Hong Kong where they are set to do battle in the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup and Champions Mile respectively.

With combined stakes of HK$26million, these two Group 1 races will witness an international field of top-class horses, come Sunday 26 April at Sha Tin racecourse.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club reports that, “this year’s renewal of the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup will feature two former champions in Archipenko and Viva Pataca and we are also delighted to have leading competitors from Australia, France, Great Britain, South Africa and the United States.”

“In the Champions Mile, we are delighted that increasing the race’s purse by 50 per cent to HK$12million has resulted in its strongest ever field. Four very interesting runners representing Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates will try to break a local stranglehold in this race but Good Ba Ba, the reigning champion and Horse of the Year, still appears the one to beat.”

Audemars Piguet has been a terrific supporter of Hong Kong racing. This, in fact, is the 11th year for our partners, the master Swiss watchmakers, to sponsor the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup, the season’s springtime showcase,” said Mr William A Nader, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Executive Director of Racing. This meeting has clearly become a very important day of international racing which, I’m sure, will enthrall fans from around the world.”

Audemars Piguet QEII Cup Gr1
2000m
HK$14million (approximately US$1.8million)
Ratings Order

Viva Pataca - Six-time Gr.1 winner, including a comfortable success in this race in 2007. Completed his preparation for this event with a sound third-placed run from top weight in last weekend’s Chairman’s Trophy (HK Gr.2).

Archipenko - Scored readily in this race last year to precede a Gr.2 win in England and an unlucky reverse in the Arlington Million. Started favourite for the Dubai Duty Free last month but was never dangerous in sixth.

Presvis - Capped a fine Dubai International Carnival with a fine runners-up finish in the Dubai Duty Free from a wide barrier and looks to be still on the upgrade.

Niconero - Veteran winner of five Gr.1 races is in the form of his life. Has twice collected at the highest level and finished a creditable fourth in the Dubai Duty Free in recent weeks.

Packing Winner - HK Gr.1 winner of the Citi Champions & Chater Cup last year from Viva Pataca having run fourth in this event.

Artiste Royal - American-trained Gr.1 winner who was not tested when hemmed in on the rails in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup last December. Has since won at Gr.2 level in California.

Chinchon- Three times placed in French Pattern events, including once last year in front of Collection, the subsequent Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby champion.

Thumbs Up - Triumphant in the HK Gr.1 Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Classic Mile in January and runner-up to Collection in the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby last month.

Bullish Cash - Triumphant in the HK Gr.3 Premier Plate last season and placed in the same race last month.

Viva Macau - Dual winner of the Ladies’ Purse (Class 1) and Gr.1 placed both locally and in France.

Roma Pegasus - Fifth in both the Randwick and Rosehill Guineas in Australia before similar finishes in the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Classic Mile, Derby Trial and Derby.

Danesis- Runner-up in his last start in the HKGr.3 Premier Plate to leap to a triple figure HK rating.

Champions Mile Gr1
1600m
HK$12million (approximately US$1.54million)
Ratings Order

Good BaBa- Six-time Gr.1 winner, current Horse of the Year and defending champion of this race. His international rating of 124 for winning the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile is the highest ever accorded to a Hong Kong horse.

Egyptian Ra - Only two horses are rated higher in Hong Kong after his all-the-way success in the HK Gr.1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup from Good Ba Ba. He won the HK Gr.2 Cathay Pacific International Mile Trial in similar fashion.

More Bountiful - Shot up by 21lbs in the ratings - a record rise this decade - in the wake of his authoritative success in the Chairman’s Trophy (HK Gr.2) last time.

Alexandros- Career best performance last time out when third in the Dubai Duty Free on the back of two earlier wins at the Dubai International Carnival for Godolphin.

Armada- Former Champion Miler for winning the HK Gr.1 Stewards’ Cup in 2007. Runner-up in both this race and the Yasuda Kinen last year.

Fellowship - Placed in his last three starts, two of those at the highest level and knocking on the door of his maiden HK Gr.1 victory.

Imbongi- Dual Gr.2 winner and also Gr.1 runner-up in South Africa.

Collection - The new star of Hong Kong racing after his terrific triumph in the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby. Drops back in distance here.

Sight Winner - Most Improved Horse in Hong Kong last season and his consistency in the best local races has maintained the upward curve this season.

Dao Dao - Four wins last season for John Size in Hong Kong and a Listed winner in Sydney last weekend for his former trainer, John Hawkes.

Sir Slick - Six-time Gr.1 winner in New Zealand where he is known as the ‘People’s Champion’.

Unique Jewellery - Winner of the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby Trial and a commendable fourth in the Classic itself.

Gem Of Chiu Ton - Listed placed in England before arriving in Hong Kong where he appears on the verge of a breakthrough success.