Loves Only You signs off with Hong Kong Cup gold

Loves Only You supplemented her Breeders’ Cup success with victory in the Longines Hong Kong Cup on Sunday.

The five-year-old broke new ground for her handler Yoshito Yahagi as she became the first Japanese-trained winner at the American showpiece when landing the Filly & Mare Turf at Del Mar last month and she took another big-race crown at Sha Tin.

There was plenty of European interest in the 10-furlong contest, with Aidan O’Brien’s Bolshoi Ballet and the Jim Bolger-trained Mac Swiney prominent in the early exchanges but both were back pedalling in the straight as Russian Emperor went for home.

Another Japanese raider Hishi Iguazu then launched his challenge as Yuga Kawada really got to work on Loves Only You, with the mare responding in fine style to just edge out her compatriot at the line on what is expected to be her final start.

The William Haggas-trained Dubai Honour finished with a flourish, but fell just short of third place for Tom Marquand.

Kawada said: “I’m really proud.

“She jumped well but the pace was a bit slow. She relaxed well and then I was able to get a good position.

“She’s the best female horse I’ve ever ridden. I hope she will be a good mother.”

Glory Vase was just too good for Pyledriver
Glory Vase was just too good for Pyledriver (Hong Kong Jockey Club)

Pyledriver had to settle for second as Glory Vase swooped late to land the Longines Hong Kong Vase.

The William Muir and Chris Grassick-trained Pyledriver, winner of the Coronation Cup earlier in the year was well-fancied to claim a second Group One victory in this 12-furlong heat and he travelled well throughout for Martin Dwyer, settling in third as Reliable Team and Stay Foolish set the early gallop, before unleashing his run down the straight.

French runner Ebaiyra tried to go with him but Pyledriver had her measure, however, Glory Vase, who had raced at the back of the field through the early stages, was just getting rolling and he finished with a flourish down the middle of the track to claim a one-length victory.

Pyledriver takes home £415,486 for runner-up spot and Dwyer was pleased enough, but felt the winner was just too good.

He said: “Really pleased, good run but I think the winner is very good.”

Moreira was thrilled to claim the contest again and said: “I had a smooth run, going to the fence and saving ground. I just made sure I got into the clear and I know he’s a very strong horse at the finish and there was not a fight.

“He has proven to be the best horse today.”

Golden Sixty won a second Hong Kong Mile
Golden Sixty won a second Hong Kong Mile (HKJC)

Golden Sixty chalked up his 16th consecutive victory as he successfully defended his Longines Hong Kong Mile title.

The six-year-old has not been beaten since July 2019, when he suffered the only defeat of his career so far, and he extended his winning run in fine style in the hands of Vincent Ho.

Golden Sixty assumed his usual early position towards the back of the field in this Group One heat, with Aidan O’Brien’s 1000 Guineas winner Mother Earth racing on his heels as the leaders set only a moderate early pace.

Ho started to close up turning for home, but at the top of the straight it looked as though he may struggle to get a run on the Francis Lui-trained star, but when the gap finally appeared, Golden Sixty engaged another gear to kick clear. Mother Earth stayed on strongly to take fourth under Ryan Moore.

Golden Sixty is now Hong Kong’s most prolific winner, notching a 19th overall win in this contest.

“I knew he was at his best, gate two was a little bit tricky, I didn’t want to be stuck on the inside but eventually the race panned out well and the pace was genuine,” Ho said.

“It was much better today because the pace was on, he actually relaxed very well and as a six-year-old he’s more mature, so it’s even better.

“It’s all about teamwork as well, without anyone from the stable we couldn’t do this.

“Last year it wasn’t like this, I got to enjoy it with the crowd and it’s such a great atmosphere.”

Sky Field won the Hong Kong Sprint
Sky Field won the Hong Kong Sprint (HKJC)

Sky Field had earlier won a dramatic renewal of the Longines Hong Kong Sprint.

The Blake Shinn-ridden winner grabbed the lead inside the last of the six furlongs, collaring leader Courier Wonder to take control and triumph for trainer Caspar Fownes. Resistencia took second place in the shadow of the post.

However, the race was marred by a horrible incident on the turn for home, when the Lyle Hewitson-ridden Amazing Star appeared to break down and fall. A number of horses in behind him were affected with Lucky Patch, Naboo Attack and Pixie Knight all coming down.

Hewitson, Zac Purton, rider of Lucky Patch, and Yuichi Fukunaga who was aboard Pixie Knight were all ruled out for the remainder of the card shortly after the incident.

Shinn said: ““We’ve always had faith in him but on the big stage things haven’t always gone this way. Today, he performed to his best today and still beat a handy horse in chasing down a top-line horse in Courier Wonder and the Japanese horse.”

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