Foreign contingent selected for 2023 Hong Kong International Races

November 25th, 2023

The Hong Kong Jockey Club announced this week a stellar cast of foreign participants for the Hong Kong International Races (HKIR) at Sha Tin on Dec. 10. Golden Sixty, Romantic Warrior, Highfield Princess, Luxembourg, and Lucky Sweynesse feature among 49 gallopers from Hong Kong, Japan, France, Ireland, Great Britain, Singapore and the United States selected to compete in the four international events. Demonstrating significant international support for Hong Kong's showpiece meeting, 25 of the selected runners are from overseas.

Golden Sixty makes his long-anticipated competitive return when Hong Kong's equine idol attempts to join Good Ba Ba as a three-time winner of the Hong Kong Mile (G1). Winner of a Hong Kong record nine Group 1s, Golden Sixty's pursuit of history will be challenged by Japan's Namur, who claimed her first Group 1 with success in the Mile Championship (G1) at Kyoto on Nov. 19, and Serifos, who won the 2022 Mile Championship and was runner-up in this year's Yasuda Kinen (G1) behind Songline at Tokyo. France's Tribalist, trained by Andre Fabre, is also a high-class contender.

Outstanding English sprinter Highfield Princess, already a four-time Group 1 winner in three different countries, will bid to become the first visitor to land the Hong Kong Sprint (G1) since Japanese star Danon Smash won the speed test in 2020. John Quinn's mare will face a formidable Hong Kong defense led by the world's top-ranked sprinter Lucky Sweynesse, who won the Jockey Club Sprint (G2) at Sha Tin on Nov. 19, and last year's Hong Kong Sprint winner Wellington.

Champion Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien returns in quest of a fourth HKIR triumph, and his first victory in the Hong Kong Cup (G1), having previously celebrated a trio of Hong Kong Vase (G1) successes with Highland Reel (twice) and Mogul. The master horseman will be represented by Tattersalls Gold Cup (G1) winner Luxembourg, who was runner-up in his last start to his outstanding stablemate Auguste Rodin in the Irish Champion (G1). 

In what shapes as a highlight of the glittering meeting, Hong Kong will be led by last season's Hong Kong Cup winner and recent Cox Plate (G1) champion Romantic Warrior, while the presence of France's Horizon Dore and Japan's Prognosis, Rousham Park and Hishi Iguazu adds further intrigue.

With eight victories from the past 10 runnings of the Hong Kong Vase, the visiting contingent again shapes strongly with the presence of Japanese globe-trotter Shahryar, whose credits include wins in the 2021 Japanese Derby (G1) and 2022 Dubai Sheema Classic (G1). Imperiously-bred Geraldina returns from Japan, along with Andre Fabre's Junko and Aidan O'Brien's Warm Heart, a dual Group 1 winner this year with triumphs in the Yorkshire Oaks (G1) and the Prix Vermeille (G1) at Longchamp.
 Hong Kong's quest for its first Vase victory since Exultant in 2018 will be spearheaded by reigning Hong Kong Champion Stayer Russian Emperor, Senor Toba and Five G Patch, while US-based trainer Christophe Clement will be represented by Soldier Rising.
 Underlining the fixture's global appeal, Singapore's top horse Lim's Kosciuszko returns for Dan Meagher in the Hong Kong Mile.