Time Warp, who won this race twelve months ago with front running tactics, bids for back to back victories and would only be the second horse to do it after California Memory in 2011 and 2012. Former horse of the year, Werther will want to add the Cup to his collection after nearly completing of a full set of Hong Kong majors over 2000m.
So why has Ed Walker sent over STORMY ANTARCTIC for a try?
The reason is simple. PK Siu, who owns the five-year-old gelding is the head of one of the most prolific racing families in Hong Kong. His three children have all been involved in racehorse ownership and each horse carries a variation of their father’s colours – the red and black striped silks.
A property, finance and manufacturing tycoon, PK Siu has owned horses in various countries over the years and actively encourages their participation at the Hong Kong International races. In Stormy Antarctic, he has a chance of springing a surprise against the local hot favourites.
STORMY ANTARCTIC has always been campaigned at Group level these past few seasons, but it is this year where he has produced some of his best efforts.
He commenced the year with a win in a G3 in France at Saint Cloud and was cleverly campaigned to pick up another G2 at Baden Baden in German during May. International travel seems to suit the horse, who travelled also travelled to Canada to finish third in the Woodbine Mile during mid-September, beaten only one and a half lengths. Trainer Ed Walker has also not been afraid to take on the best of the British either and unleashed STORMY ANTARCTIC to finish a good fourth behind Roaring Lion in the G1 QEII at Ascot in October.
STORMY ANTARCTIC has done enough this season to be considered a successful globe trotter and it’s no surprise to see his appearance in Hong Kong, no matter who his connections are.
Conditions at Sha Tin are likely to suit the horse having run well on firm ground in Canada, but he seems to be very versatile - a trait that his jockey James Doyle will appreciate and use to best effect on Sunday.