WORLD bragging rights are up for grabs as the thoroughbred racing world focuses on its end of year “turf championships” comprising four truly international races at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Sydney hopes The Championships can achieve similar status as it develops but Hong Kong in December is where the finest horses, trainers, jockeys and a wildly-eclectic ownership dynamic meet to really sort out the best of the year.
It is why 33 horses from eight countries across four continents, selected and totally funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, are here to tackle 23 locally loved and adored stars across the Cup, Vase, Mile and Sprint Championships.
And here is a statistic to sober up the best of the visitor’s prospects. Hong Kong-trained horses have won 22 of the past 40 races in the series. As local journalist and G1X contributor Alan “Hats” Aitken points out, that's 21 of the past 30 if you scratch the 2400m Vase as the locals don’t have a staying culture. Even then, Irish import Dominant was able to win for John Moore in 2013.
Hong Kong horses haven’t been beaten in the Mile since Hat Trick won for Japan in 2005, a trend likely to continue with the meeting’s star attraction Able Friend (he’s the highest rated horse in the world competing) on Sunday.
So can we really measure the best of show via numbers and ratings and performances across the world leading into one end of year meet? And where d...