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Best Horse Races in Asia

We all know how big gambling in Asia has become, and horse racing is one of the top sports to bet on, just like UK and other countries. In this article we will give more information about some of the main horse races in Asia, including Hong Kong, Dubai and other places.

Hong Kong Cup

The Hong Kong Cup is a Group 1 race over a mile and a quarter held at Sha Tin in mid December each year. It is open to horses of three years and older and regularly attracts participants from across the world.

The race was first held in 1988 and restricted to horses trained in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. The following year, horses from Australia and New Zealand were allowed with horses from Europe invited in 1990. Thoroughbreds from the USA followed in 1991 with Canada and Japan in 1992. The race was promoted to Group 1 status in 1999.

The race presently carries a purse of HK$20,000,000 (approximately US$2.58 million). The fastest time in the race was set by Falbrav in 2003 at 2:00.90 for the 2,000 metres. California Memory is the only horse to have won the race twice (2011 and 2012).

Italian Frankie Dettori is the most successful jockey with three victories whilst the leading trainers are Saeed Bin Suroor and Anthony Cruz with two wins apiece. Godolphin and Howard Liang Yum Shing are the leading owners, also with two victories.

The Hong Kong Vase

The Vase was promoted to a Group 1 race in 2000, six years after the inaugural running at Sha Tin. It is also open to thoroughbreds aged three years and upwards. The race takes place over a mile and a half in mid December, one of four Hong Kong International Races. It currently has a purse of HK$14,000,000 (approximately US$1.8 million).

The fastest winning time was set by Red Bishop at 2:25.10 whilst Clive Brittain’s Luso won the race in consecutive seasons (1996 and 1997). Doctor Dino would emulate this achievement in 2007 and 2008.

The most successful jockey in the race is Olivier Peslier with four victories whilst trainers Elie Lellouche, Clive Brittain and Richard Gibson have enjoyed two victories each. Luso’s owner, Saeed Manana and Javier Martinez Salmean (Doctor Dino) are the leading owners with two wins.

Japan Cup

Japan CupThe Japan Cup is contested on the last Sunday of November each year at Tokyo Racecourse in Fuchu and is becoming a decent event for horse race gambling in general. It is held over a distance of a mile and a half on grass with weight for age conditions. The current purse of ¥476 million (about US $5.8 million) makes the Japan Cup one of the richest horse races anywhere in the world.

The Japan Cup is an invitational event and winners have come from North America, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy and Japan itself. The first running was won by the American mare Mairzy Doates, trained by John Fulton and partnered by Cash Asmussen.

The race produced a thrilling finish in 1982 when Half Iced beat the top French fillies All Along and April Run by a neck and the same with Ireland’s Stanerra a length back in fourth. Stanerra would return the following season to record a famous victory under jockey Brian Rouse when just beating the Japanese-trained Kyoei Promise by a head.

The race was officially ranked as International Grade 1 in 1984. Jupiter Island became the first British raider to capture the Japan Cup in 1985 when the Clive Brittain-trained seven-year-old held Guy Harwood’s Allez Milord by a head under an brilliant ride from Pat Eddery.

France enjoyed their first success in 1987 when the Robert Collet-trained and Alain Lequeux-ridden Le Glorieux landed the big prize. In 1989 the New Zealand mare Horlicks won by a neck in a world record time for 2400 meters.

Lando gave Germany their first victory in 1995 when ridden by South African-born British-based jockey Michael Roberts. Sir Michael Stoute won back-to-back Cups in 1996 and 1997 with Singspiel and Pilsudski.

El Condor Pasa famously led home a Japanese one, two, three in the 18th running. In 2002 the race was moved to Nakayama Racecourse while Tokyo Racecourse was being renovated. The distance was shortened to 2200 meters and victory went to Falbrav under Frankie Dettori.

The Japanese repeated their 1,2,3 in 2004 when Zenno Rob Roy won under Olivier Peslier. Alkaased smashed the previous speed record set by Horlicks when winning in 2005 and Deep Impact won in 2006.

There was controversy in 2010 when Buena Vista was disqualified from first place and the race awarded to Rose Kingdom. Buena Vista would win the Japan Cup in 2011. A horse is still to win the Japan Cup on more than one occasion.

Dubai World Cup

The first running of the Dubai World Cup took place in 1996, a race devised by Sheikh Mohammed to attract some of the world’s best thoroughbreds to race in his native Dubai. The American champion Cigar was the ideal horse to help give the race worldwide credibility and it very quickly became established in the racing calendar.

The Dubai World Cup is restricted to four-year-olds and upwards over a distance of a mile and a quarter. The reputation of the Dubai World Cup was further boosted by the victory of Sir Michael Stoute’s Singspiel in 1997, providing the Sheikh with his first winner in the race in the process.

Silver Charm, winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes the previous season, gave the USA their second winner in 1998. It was Dubai Millennium’s victory in 2000 that is best remembered of all the champions to have graced the event in its relatively short history.

The colt was a beaten favourite in the Epsom Derby but proved a revelation when dropped back to a mile and a quarter. He won twice in France before winning the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot by six lengths. Sheikh Mohammad proudly declared him to be the best horse ever owned by Godolphin, a statement he justified when storming home in the World Cup by six lengths in a track record time. Sadly a broken leg ended his racing career and, although saved for stud duties, he would succumb to grass sickness after only one season.

Jockey Jerry Bailey is the most successful jockey in the race with four winners whilst Godolphin’s Saeed Bin Suroor is the leading trainer with five. American-trained horses have gone on to dominate the event in recent years with Pleasantly Perfect (2004), Roses In May (2005), Invasor (2007), Curlin (2008), Well Armed (2009) and Animal Kingdom (2013) all winning. In 2010 Glória de Campeão gave Brazil their first success and Victoire Pisa further underlined the international nature of the race when winning for Japan in 2011.

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