The market suggests a case can be made for all runners in this year’s Longines Hong Kong Mile (1600m).
If we pick up the form guide and go through the full field of runners, a case can certainly be made for most of them.
There is also a good chance the local runners who filled the first four placings in the Group Two Jockey Club Mile (JC Mile) could quite easily do it again.
Crowned the world’s greatest miler (on turf), Beauty Generation certainly lived up to that title prior to his first-up win when resuming from a 22-week stint in the spelling paddock.
That first-up victory was his 10th straight win and 18th overall from his 33 starts.
However, the winning run came to an end next start in the Group Two Sha Tin Trophy (1600m) where two runners, who met him much better at the weights, beat him to the line.
The Colin Fownes-trained Rise High (54kgs) won the event from Waikuku (52.5kgs) with Beauty Generation (60.5kgs) finishing a weakening third, two lengths further back.
After the initial shock of seeing the mile-specialist beaten for the first time in almost two years, it was shrugged off as a glitch, possibly due to the weight difference on the day.
However, things grew even darker for the John Moore-trained champion as he then lined up in the Group Two JC Mile and suffered a second consecutive defeat, with Waikuku yet again beating him to the line, along with the Tony Cruz-trained Ka Ying Star who also passed the Hong Kong champ before the line.
The four of these runners all clash again in Sunday’s Hong Kong Mile but the list of possible winners doesn’t stop there either.
Joining the line-up this year is the well performed Japanese miler Indy Champ who in fact heads the market as the $3.20 favourite with BetEasy.
The five-year-old has made a name for himself in the land of cherry blossoms winning seven of his 12 career starts.
In June this year, he lined up in his final race for his last campaign before beginning an 18-week spell, and he certainly saved the best for that run.
He took out the Group One Yasuda Kinen (1600m) in Tokyo, inflicting Almond Eye’s first and only defeat to date.
In doing so, Indy Champ covered the 1600m trip in a blistering 1:30.90, which was more than 1.5 seconds faster than Beauty Generation’s track record run at Sha Tin in last year’s Group Two JC Mile.
That effort alone should be ringing warning bells for the Hong Kong local hopefuls.
The Japanese representative is coming off a last-start win in Kyoto where he took out the Group One Mile Championship, winning comfortably in the end (1.5 lengths) and covering the trip in 1:33.00.
This was just three weeks ago and he has settled in nicely since arriving on Hong Kong soil and looked quite at home and relaxed in a track gallop on Wednesday.
If he brings his ‘A’ game to the track on Sunday, he will prove mighty hard to beat.