02/02/2018 4:14PM

Eagle Way seeks third Hong Kong Group 3 triumph


Eagle Way can win his third Group 3 race in Hong Kong with Sunday’s $383,582 Centenary Vase Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on turf at Sha Tin Racecourse, if he can repel challenges from two promising 4-year-olds: Ruthven and Rivet.

All three are trained by John Moore and figure to dominate the betting in a field of seven.

Eagle Way, who will carry 131 pounds, won the Group 3 January Cup at 1 1/8 miles on turf at Happy Valley on Jan. 10, ending a four-race losing streak for the 5-year-old gelding. Moore described Eagle Way as in fine condition after a workout Thursday.

“From a handicap point of view, Eagle Way will need all the favors with 131 pounds on his back, especially against the younger horses,” Moore told Hong Kong publicity.

“He may be the fittest horse, but the others are on the way up.”

Eagle Way, who was eighth behind Highland Reel in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase in December, won the Group 1 Queensland Derby in Australia in 2016 in his final start before being imported to Hong Kong. Ruthven won the same race last June.

Ruthven, who will carry 113 pounds, has finished seventh in his first two starts in Hong Kong.

Rivet, who will also carry 113 pounds, won the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, England, in 2016. He was winless in four starts in Europe last year, including a third-place finish in the French 2000 Guineas at Deauville last May when trained by William Haggas.

Rivet is winless in four starts in Hong Kong. Rivet and Ruthven were fifth and seventh in the Hong Kong Classic Mile for 4-year-olds on Jan. 21. They are considered candidates for the Hong Kong Derby for 4-year-olds on March 18.

Secret Weapon is the 133-pound highweight in the Centenary Vase. An 8-year-old gelding, Secret Weapon was seventh in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup in December, and won the Group 2 Jockey Club Cup in November 2016.

There will be support for Dinozzo, the mount of leading rider Joao Moreira. Dinozzo, who will carry 122 pounds, was third behind Eagle Way in the January Cup and rebounded to win a minor handicap at Happy Valley on Wednesday. A quick turnaround has been considered in recent weeks, trainer John Size said.

“He didn’t have too tough a run you wouldn’t think, at least visually,” Size said of Wednesday’s race. “But obviously he won the race, so he’s done plenty of work.

“It was the plan for awhile – he’s going to struggle a bit after Sunday to find a suitable race – so I thought if he runs in both of them and wins one of them it would be a good result for his owners.”