Ryan Moore believes Magical is capable of notching up her eighth Group One success in Sunday’s Longines Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin.
Former Aidan O’Brien-trained runners Highland Reel, Yeats, Minding and Rock Of Gibraltar all claimed seven top-level successes, but Magical could raise the bar for the Ballydoyle handler if she triumphs in the 10-furlong feature.
Magical added both the Tattersalls Gold Cup and Irish Champion Stakes to her tally this term and was last seen chasing home Tarnawa in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland last month.
While Moore believes she is the one to beat, he is wary of the Japanese-trained challenge as well as home hope Furore, who has won his last two outings for Tony Cruz.
Moore said: “She’s been great for a long time and it’s fantastic that she’s here. She’s won seven Group Ones.
“The reality is they probably have her to beat, but again you always respect the horses that are in there.
“There’s three smart Japanese horses in there that have all won Group Ones (Danon Premium, Win Bright and Normcore).
“And Furore is in good shape. It’s a small field, but there’s not a bad one in there, I don’t think.”
Moore also teams up with the O’Brien-trained Mogul in the Longines Hong Kong Vase, with the colt having finished fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf on his latest run.
“He’s a beautiful horse, we’ve always held him high regard,” he said.
“He took a while to come to hand this year, but you’ll see him out on the track – he’s very well-made, a very strong colt.
“He was very impressive when he won the Grand Prix de Paris (on) Arc Trials weekend and, at the Breeders Cup, he wasn’t beaten far in what was a messy sort of a race.
“Obviously there’s only seven in there (the Vase), Exultant always runs his race but he (Mogul) would look to have a solid chance in that race.”
Moore will also be in action in the Hong Kong Sprint as he teams up with Japanese contender Danon Smash.
His trainer Takayuki Yasuda won the six-furlong prize with Danon Smash’s sire Lord Kanaloa in both 2012 and 2013.
Danon Smash finished a close-up eighth last year, but Moore is expecting a tough task against former Australian star and Everest winner Classique Legend, who is having his first run for Casper Fownes.
“He seems well. He’s got plenty of form in the book and it’s always hard to beat the Hong Kong horses in the Sprint,” he said.
“Obviously this year, Classique Legend looked exceptional in Australia. As always, it’s a tough race and we probably have to step up a little bit, but hopefully he can get a good run and perform well.”
Moore has prevailed on five occasions at the Hong Kong International Races – twice in the Vase with globetrotting Highland Reel in 2015 and 2017, the Cup with Snow Fairy (2010) and Maurice (2016) and the Mile with Maurice (2015).