Bobby Zen

If Helios Express (Aus) (Toronado {Ire}) is to add Sunday’s HK$26-million (£2.63 million/US$3.33 million) BMW Hong Kong Derby to his victories in the Hong Kong Classic Mile and Hong Kong Classic Cup, he will have to do so from gate 13 in a field of 14 4-year-olds in the 2000-metre domestic centrepiece Sunday at Sha Tin Racecourse.

The 102-rater is one of three in the race for four-time Derby-winning conditioner John Size, who will also send out Classic Cup third Ensued (Lemon Drop Kid) with Ryan Moore from barrier 12 and the longshot Simple Hedge (Aus) (Sebring {Aus}) from the six with Antoine Hamelin at the controls.

“I’ll have to have a look at the race, see what the jocks think and try and work it out,” the Aussie ex-pat commented. “They haven’t done me any favours yet.

Size also provided an update on Helios Express, who has overcome a bacterial infection in a hoof.

“The horse (Helios Express) is fine, he galloped [Thursday] morning and he looks good.”

With a win, Helios Express would join Rapper Dragon (Aus) (Street Boss) and Golden Sixty (Aus) (Medaglia d’Oro) as horses to sweep the 4-year-old Classics.

Galaxy Express (Aus) (Wandjina {Aus}) will attempt to emulate Size’s most recent Derby winner Ping Hai Star (NZ) (Nom de Jeu {NZ}) in stepping up from 1400 metres to the 2000 metres of the Derby. Prepared by the outstanding leading young trainer Pierre Ng, Galaxy Express will carry Blake Shinn, who will need to chart a course from the widest alley.

Those drawn in the double digits would take some heart in the barrier draw statistics. Not only did Voyage Bubble (Aus) (Deep Field {Aus}) prevail 12 months ago from the 14 hole, but since the turn of the century, the Derby winner has left from gates 10 and higher on no fewer than 10 occasions. Fay Fay (NZ) and Ambitious Dragon (NZ) also overcame the widest barrier.

The top choices in the market have also generally performed well in the Derby, as only Voyage Bubble (45-1) and Vital King (NZ) (10-1, 2007) have returned double-digit mutuels.

The Derby goes as race seven on a 10-race program with a scheduled post time of 4.15 local time (4:15am ET, 9:15 British time). Click here for the HKJC race form. The Hong Kong Derby cheat sheet will appear in Saturday’s TDN Europe.


2024 Hong Kong Derby barrier draw:

1⃣ Star Mac
2⃣ Elliptical
3⃣ Chill Chibi
4⃣ Ka Ying Generation
5⃣ Beauty Crescent
6⃣ Simple Hedge
7⃣ Speed Dragon
8⃣ Unbelievable
9⃣ Chancheng Glory
Massive Sovereign
1⃣1⃣ Helene Feeling
1⃣2⃣ Ensued
1⃣3⃣ Helios Express

— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) March 21, 2024

The post Favourites Have It All To Do Following HK Derby Draw appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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