January 22, 2022

Breeders’ Cup winners Talismanic, Stormy Liberal among selectees for the HKIR

Talismanic powers home to win the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) under Mickael Barzalona at Del Mar on Saturday, November 4, 2017 (c) Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos

Breeders’ Cup winners Talismanic (Turf [G1]) and Stormy Liberal (Turf Sprint [G1]) were among 32 overseas challengers selected on Wednesday by the Hong Kong Jockey Club to participate in the four Hong Kong International Races (HKIR) at Sha Tin on December 10.

Based in France with Andre Fabre, Talismanic registered a 14-1 upset of the 1 1/2-mile Turf at Del Mar on November 4. He will be joined in the 12-furlong Hong Kong Vase (G1) by Highland Reel, who finished a close third in his title defense of the Turf.

This will mark the third trip to Hong Kong for the globetrotting Highland Reel, who captured the Vase in 2015 but was upset last year in the same race by Satono Crown. Highland Reel’s two Group 1 wins this term were the Coronation Cup at Epsom and the Prince of Wales’s at Royal Ascot.

Stormy Liberal, who also pulled off an upset at Del Mar when taking the five-furlong Turf Sprint by a head at 30-1, will line up for the six-furlong Hong Kong Sprint (G1). The Peter Miller trainee captured four other stakes earlier this year, all at about 6 1/2 furlongs down the hillside turf at Santa Anita.

Other notables invited to the Sprint are dual Group 1 winner The Tin Man from Britain and 2017 Al Quoz Sprint (G1) hero The Right Man.

Invaders expected to line up for the Hong Kong Mile (G1) include Lancaster Bomber, runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), Woodbine Mile (G1), and St James’s Palace (G1) this term; Roly Poly, a triple Group 1-winning filly this year who finished three lengths 11th in the Breeders’ Cup Mile; Grade 1 winner Deauville, a close third in the Arlington Million (G1) two back; and last-out British Champions Sprint (G1) winner Librisa Breeze.

The 1 1/4-mile Hong Kong Cup (G1) will include overseas challenges from Poet’s Word, runner-up in the Champion (G1) and Irish Champion (G1) in his last two starts for Sir Michael Stoute, and recent E.P. Taylor (G1) heroine Blond Me.