French stayer Bayrir to replace Mount Athos in Hong Kong Vase

French stayer Bayrir has been selected to replace the Luca Cumani trained Mount Athos in the Group 1 HK$15m Longines Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin on Longines Hong Kong International Race Day on Sunday week.

The Alain De Royer-Dupre trained Bayrir is a Group 1 winner, talking out the  US$500,000 Secretariat Stakes (1 mile 2 furlongs) at Arlington Park, USA on August 18 three starts back.

While the three year old’s latest effort saw him finish tenth to Solemia in the Group 1 €4m QATAR Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe (1 mile 4 furlongs) at Longchamp, France  on October 7.

The Cumani stable decided to cancel Hong Kong plans for Mount Athos after the five year put in a lack lustre performance when twelfth to Gentildonna in the Group 1 US$6.5m Japan Cup (2400m) at Tokyo last Sunday.

The English stable went to Tokyo with high hopes after Mount Athos put in an eye catching effort when fifth to Green Moon in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 6.

“The pace was too slow for my horse and he got a couple of big bumps coming into the straight but he ran really well and kept coming,” jockey Ryan Moore said after the Melbourne Cup.

The scratching of Mount Athos has left Cumani without a runner at Sha Tin on the rich International Race Day after stablemate My Quest For Peace failed to gain an invitation from the Hong Kong Jockey Club for the Hong Kong Vase.

Ryan Moore reported after the Japan Cup that Mount Athos was not suited by the moderate pace of the race but was till disappointed with the finishing effort of the stayer.

“Fenomeno dropped across me at the start and I got stuck on the fence, where he was a bit keen,” Moore said.

“There was room to go through in the straight but after the slow pace, he just couldn’t go with them and I looked after him.”

Mount Athos was one of the European drawcards for the International Race day which has also lost the John Gosden trained The Fugue who was withdrawn after failing to please the stable after recent track work.

On a better note for the Hong Kong Jockey Club was that Ed Dunlop’s Red Cadeaux and Japanese galloper Jaguar Mail have come through the Japan Cup okay and will line up in the Hong Kong Vase on Sunday Week.

Red Cadeaux ran into a bit of trouble mid race but ran on to finish eighth while the Noriyuki Hori trained Jaguar Mail finished in tenth spot.

“Considering he was struck into on the first bend and then got stopped in the straight, he’s run a great race,” said the trainer’s wife Becky Dunlop.

“He travelled well through the race, and hopefully he’ll be okay to go to Hong Kong.”

With the Hong Kong Jockey Club only selecting one replacement after the withdrawals of Mount Athos and The Fugue, the Hong Kong Vase has been left with a field of thirteen runners.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.