February 3, 2023

Glory Vase goes for third Hong Kong Vase

Glory Vase runs down Pyledriver to win his second Hong Kong Vase (Hong Kong Jockey Club)

Before Golden Sixty’s three-peat bid in the Hong Kong Mile (G1), Glory Vase will try to become the first three-time winner of the Hong Kong Vase (G1) on Sunday. The Japanese shipper won in 2019, abdicated by missing the Sha Tin festivities in 2020, and regained his title in 2021. Another round of classy Europeans will oppose him, including Aidan O’Brien’s Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) alumni Stone Age and Broome.

Bet on TwinSpires.com: How to play the four Hong Kong International Races

Hong Kong Vase (G1) – Race 4 (1:10 a.m. ET)

Glory Vase hasn’t won at the top level in Japan, but the Deep Impact seven-year-old has been sparingly campaigned. Since missing by only a neck in the 2019 Tenno Sho Spring (G1), he has had only two Grade 1 opportunities at home, including a creditable fifth to Almond Eye and Contrail in the 2020 Japan Cup (G1). Glory Vase’s 3-2-1-0 record at Sha Tin bespeaks his quality; his lone loss in Hong Kong was a terrific second to future Breeders’ Cup heroine Loves Only You in the 2021 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) at a trip at least a quarter-mile short of his best.

The question on Sunday is if Glory Vase can duplicate his past efforts off an even more limited campaign, at this stage of his career. Glory Vase was last seen finishing sixth in the Aug. 21 Sapporo Kinen (G2), off a five-month layoff. But he does renew his partnership with Joao Moreira.

Compatriot Win Marilyn, who beat Glory Vase in the 2021 Sankei Sho All Comers (G2), makes a rare foray at what might be her optimal distance. In her only prior tilt at about 1 1/2 miles, she was second in the 2020 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) (G1). Win Marilyn won her other appearance in this vicinity, the about 1 9/16-mile Nikkei Sho (G2), in early 2021. The well-named daughter of Screen Hero enters in fine form, having placed third in the Sapporo Kinen (G2) to Hong Kong Cup (G1)-bound Jack d’Or and Panthalassa, and a dead-heat second in Hanshin’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1).

Breeders’ Cup Turf runner-up Stone Age hopes to follow in the hoofsteps of Highland Reel (2015) and Mogul (2020), the past Ballydoyle sophomores to defeat elders in the Vase. Although he has a point in common with them as a Galileo colt, they had already scored at the highest level before arriving in Hong Kong. Stone Age continues to have upside though, as reiterated by his performance in the Breeders’ Cup.

Veteran stablemate Broome, on the other hand, is a known quantity as a well-traveled six-year-old. Second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf, the son of Australia was a slow-starting sixth in his latest attempt at Keeneland. That reflects his hit-or-miss character. Broome remains capable on his best day, as reiterated in the June 18 Hardwicke (G2) at Royal Ascot. Yutake Take takes over for Ryan Moore, who sticks with Stone Age.

Three of the Europeans are looking to rebound from subpar runs on very soft going over Arc weekend. Mendocino, who surprised Torquator Tasso in the Sept. 4 Grosser Preis von Baden (G1), couldn’t repeat the feat in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) and trudged home 12th. Bubble Gift, third to Alpinista in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (G1), couldn’t get near her when 14th in the Arc. Botanik had been on an upward curve for Andre Fabre until flopping in the Oct. 1 Prix Dollar (G2), and the Godolphin homebred is entitled to fare a lot better back up in trip. Botanik had previously won three straight, including a comfortable victory over Japan’s Stay Foolish in the Grand Prix de Deauville (G2).

Senor Toba ranks as the leading local hope in a race that historically favors the foreigners. The winner of the course-and-distance Queen Mother Memorial Cup (G3) on May 1, the Caspar Fownes trainee was third in the division’s main spring event, the Champions & Chater Cup (G1). His recent third to Hong Kong Cup threat Romantic Warrior in the Nov. 20 Jockey Club Cup (G2) indicates his well-being. Panfield, the 2021 Champions & Chater Cup victor, finished fifth in this year’s renewal, and Butterfield was seventh, underscoring how difficult their task is on Sunday.

Check out all the previews of the Hong Kong International Races here