09/22/2016 10:10AM

Consort seeks first win in Asia in Ventris Handicap


In 2015, Consort finished third in the Group 1 St. James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, his only appearance in a race at the highest level that season.

Earlier this year, Consort was eighth and fourth in consecutive starts in Group 1 races on the Hong Kong circuit. The losses were part of a winless six-race campaign for the 4-year-old gelding in his first season in Asia in 2015-16.

Consort’s elusive first win in Asia may come Sunday in the final race on a 10-race program at Sha Tin – the $225,659 Ventris Handicap at seven furlongs on turf. First post time is 1 a.m. Eastern, or 10 p.m. Pacific on Saturday.

Consort will carry 128 pounds, five fewer than topweight Circuit Land, in a full field of 14 that has two reserves. Consort, a 4-year-old Irish-bred by Lope de Vega, has not raced since finishing ninth in a handicap at a mile in late June.

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Circuit Land has run once during the current Hong Kong season, which began earlier this month. Circuit Land was a troubled fourth in a seven-furlong handicap on turf Sept. 3, overcoming early traffic to finish 1 1/2 lengths behind Flying Moochi.

Flying Moochi is part of the Ventris Handicap field. A Kentucky-bred, Flying Moochi was a minor stakes winner in Italy in 2013 when he raced under the name Hoovergetthekeys. Flying Moochi was eighth in the 2014 Italian Derby.

In the Sept. 3 race, Flying Moochi led throughout for his second win in 20 starts in Hong Kong. For Sunday’s race, Flying Moochi will carry 121 pounds. He was assigned 128 pounds, but apprentice jockey Jack Wong claims seven pounds.

Merion, second to Flying Moochi on Sept. 3, has been assigned 121 pounds. The 5-year-old gelding was a two-time stakes winner in Australia before being transferred to Hong Kong. Merion is winless in seven starts in Hong Kong, with two second-place finishes.