DUBAI World Cup winner Victoire Pisa, from Japan, heads a star studded line-up which looks the best ever assembled for the 2011 edition of the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup to be run in Hong Kong on 1 May.

The Katsuhiko Sumii-trained Victoire Pisa will become the first Dubai World Cup winner to race at Sha Tin.  He will be accompanied by two other World Cup contestants in Cape Blanco and Gitano Hernando along with the Dubai Duty Free placegetters River Jetez and Wigmore Hall.

Add the list of strong local aspirants headed by Mercedes-Benz HK Derby winner Ambitious Dragon; the evergreen Viva Pataca and the emerging California Memory and the 2011 APQEII Cup promises to set Sha Tin alight.

“This season's APQEII line-up is not only the strongest ever, but quite possibly one of the best races in the world this year. There is terrific balance and great depth when evaluating the talented local runners against the five selected overseas runners, which include four G1 winners. It promises to be a spectacular race to mark the 13th year of our partnership with Audemars Piguet and it again highlights the significance of our springtime international event in the global racing calendar,” said HKJC Executive Director of Racing, Mr William A Nader.

Victoire Pisa,  courtesy of a daring and brilliant ride from Mirco Demuro, claimed the World Cup to record his third straight win and only So You Think and Twice Over (who finished five lengths behind Victoire Pisa in Dubai) are rated above him in the World Thoroughbred Rankings for middle distance performers on turf. Victory in Hong Kong could see him further promoted.

World renowned trainer Aidan O'Brien brings Cape Blanco to Hong Kong after his gritty fourth placing in the World Cup. Cape Blanco's remarkable resume includes a Dante Stakes win over Workforce, wins in the Irish Derby and Irish Champion Stakes and a second to Harbinger in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

South Africa's Herman Brown, no stranger to Hong Kong, sends Gitano Hernando who was competitive behind Victoire Pisa and Cape Blanco with his sixth placing in the Dubai feature.

Brown's compatriot Mike de Kock returns for yet another assault on the APQEII Cup with the Gr 1 winning mare River Jetez who was second behind BMW Champions Mile contender and 2009 APQEII Cup winner Presvis in the Dubai Duty Free.

The astute de Kock won the APQEII Cup in 2008 with Archipenko and the 2006 edition with Irridescence. He's also had two seconds with Lizard's Desire and Grey's Inn.

The Epsom Derby winning trainer Michael Bell will be represented by Wigmore Hall who was a good third in the Dubai Duty Free despite not having the best of runs.

Viva Pataca -Hong Kong’s greatest ever prize money winner - will contest the race for the sixth time.  This mighty horse is now nine years of age but is the defending champion. He also won the race in 2007 and finished third and second in between.

Hong Kong's 'new kids on the block' are also outstanding. California Memory impressed all with his startling winning burst in the Citibank Hong Kong Gold Cup - closing even quicker than Snow Fairy in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup last year. The first six from the HK Gold Cup will take their place in the APQEII Cup.

Ambitious Dragon, winner of the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby this year, is hailed as the best Derby winner for recent years and looks to go from strength to strength.

“This year's race is one of exceptional class; a renewal not just worthy of the huge international reputation the APQEII Cup has earned over the years, but one which takes that reputation to yet another level,” said Nader.



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