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Hong Kong raiders on course for Dubai

Dubai: Group 1 winning sprinter Amber Sky was among a quintet of Hong Kong contenders bound for Dubai to impress connections at Sha Tin Racecourse on Tuesday morning.

The Australian-bred son of Exceed And Excel, who is being aimed at the $1 million (Dh3.67 million) Al Quoz Sprint (G1) on Dubai World Cup night, delivered a bullet workout under Brazilian jockey Joao Moreira during a 1000m trial on the turf track. The Ricky Yiu Poon-trained gelding clocked 58.04s while hardly off the bridle.

Moreira was delighted with his mount’s effort and told the Hong Kong Jockey Club: “Amber Sky’s barrier trial was fantastic. He bolted in this morning. I just tried to do what the trainer asked me to do and took it easy with him. I just sat on top of him and was as quiet as I could be. He’s just a classy horse and he gave me such a great feel this morning.”

Moreira also said that there were no concerns about the horse being unsettled by the predictable hullabaloo at Meydan Racecourse on March 29.

“He’s a pretty quiet horse,” said the Brazilian. “He’s done nothing wrong so far and from what I’ve been told by the trainer, they’re doing a great job to make sure he’s settled and goes to the races very relaxed. I know that there’s a bit of noise when it comes to the fireworks on World Cup night but I’m quite confident that he’s going to handle that, no problem.”

Hong Kong’s hopes of making a mark at Dubai’s big night were boosted by the victory of Rich Tapestry in the Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal, the prep race for the Group 1 $2million Dubai Golden Shaheen, on Super Saturday.

Four other Dubai-bound horses participated in Tuesday’s barrier trials, including triple Group 1 winner and Horse of the Year Military Attack, who is entered in the $5 million Dubai Duty Free (G1).

Ridden by Moreira, the John Moore-trained six-year-old was eased home in fourth place, two and a half lengths behind the Tony Cruz-trained Blazing Speed.

“Military Attack gave me such a great feel this morning and I just did what the trainer asked and took it easy with him,” said Moreira of the recent Hong Kong Gold Cup victor. “I didn’t really push him out, I just keep it for the races. He’s doing well and I’m very happy with him.”

The quartet also featured Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Cup hero Akeed Mofeed and Same World, who is not scheduled to travel to Dubai.

“He came out good and I took him back, and he was following Same World,” said Douglas Whyte, who partnered Akeed Fofeed.

“He didn’t spit the bit, it took me a long time to get him settled — he was a bit fired up. Having said all that, he was full of himself at the line and he hit the line with a lot of purpose. The horse himself feels great, he feels terrific and he’s thriving in his work, I just hope that that trial knocks a little bit of wind out of his sails and he goes there [to Dubai] more composed.”

Blazing Speed and the Derek Cruz-trained Joy And Fun, who is being aimed at the Al Quoz Sprint, a race he won in 2010, will fly out of Hong Kong on March 19, while Military Attack, Skeed Mofeed and Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) hope Dominant leave on March 21.