Jenny - Clean

WITH a relatively short history but a high reputation, the Champions Mile is sponsored in a three-year agreement by elite German car manufacturer BMW, and will be run on the Easter Monday, 25 April.

First run in the 2000/2001 season, the Champions Mile, a Hong Kong Group 1 race, was initially established as a season finale for the top local milers.

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.

THANKS largely to such miling superstars as Bullish Luck, Good Ba Ba and most recently Able One, Hong Kong horses have won every running of the Champions Mile since the race was elevated to international G1 status in 2007.

The current crop of milers may, however, find themselves under some pressure to maintain that impressive sequence when Sha Tin hosts the prestigious event for the first time under the sponsorship of German luxury car maker BMW on 25 April.

It started with a desert storm and it finished with one. The sandy blast which blew over Meydan Racecourse before racing was soon to fade away, but the same will never be said of the memory of the 16th running of the Group One US$10 million Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates Airline.

Victoire Pisa won a race which culminated in a virtual stampede close home – sweat, whips and dirt flying everywhere - as the first five home could have been covered by a desert rug. The four year old won for trainer Katsuhiko Sumii, jockey Mirco Dimuro, but most of all for some sort of poetic justice.

UNDER a ride full of panache from Maxime Guyon, hot favorite Ambitious Dragon, trained by Tony Millard for owner Johnson Lam Pui Hung, delivered exactly what his fans have come to expect of him when coming with a strong late run to overpower the leaders and win the HK$16 million HKG1 2011 Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby at Sha Tin on Sunday.

The John Moore-trained Xtension kept on well for second three quarters of a length behind the winner, with Let Me Handle It, trained by Caspar Fownes almost four more lengths behind in third and another John Moore horse, Jacobee, a full six lengths behind the winner in fourth.

IN terms of numbers, entries for Hong Kong racing’s two international spring showpieces, the G1 BMW Champions Mile and the G1 Audemars Piguet QE II Cup, show a marked increase on those of 2010.

And the number of horses who have distinguished themselves at the very highest level shows the pattern of growth is more than maintained in terms of quality.

SHA TIN on Sunday is the stage for the HKG1 Citibank Hong Kong Gold Cup, second leg of the Triple Crown, a 2000m test which traditionally brings together the best of Hong Kong’s middle distance horses.

Last year the prestigious event saw the impressive victory of the John Moore-trained 2009 Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby winner, Collection. This year, with Collection sidelined through injury, Moore fields three runners and may once again hold the key to the Cup which he has now won for the last three years in succession following Viva Pataca’s triumphs in 2008 and 2009.

THE Macau Jockey Club is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Michael J. Beattie as Director of Racing with effect from 11 March 2011 replacing Mr Reid Sanders who has resigned due to personal reasons. The Club Management wishes Reid and his family all the best in their future undertakings.

Michael Beattie is no stranger to the Macau racing circle as he was the Chief Steward & Racing Manager at Macau Jockey Club from August 2006 to June 2007. Prior to this Michael was the Chief Executive Officer of the Gosford Race Club in New South Wales since December 1999.

IN perfect sunny weather for the first meeting of the Year of the Rabbit, a vast crowd of 96,000, the biggest Chinese New Year Meeting attendance for nine years, basked in the warm sunshine and relished the various entertainments.

Betting turnover today reached an enormous HK$1,261 million, the highest for a CNY meeting since 2001 and an increase of 8.6 per cent on the same meeting in 2010.

THE story of Sacred Kingdom’s career has been one of a succession of daunting peaks successfully scaled. Now the reigning Horse of the Year and former world champion sprinter faces yet another mountain to climb as he bids to join the only sprinter in Hong Kong racing history whose reputation matches his own.

If the Ricky Yiu-trained champion succeeds in taking the 1200m HKG1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize – second leg of the Hong Kong Speed Series – at the Chinese New Year meeting this Saturday, he will join the unforgettable Silent Witness at the summit of Hong Kong achievement with 18 victories to his name.

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