11/23/2016 4:25PM

Highland Reel among invitees to rich Sha Tin stakes

Debra Roma
Highland Reel and jockey Seamus Heffernan win the Breeders' Cup Turf by 1 3/4 lengths on Nov. 5.

The horses selected to participate Dec. 12 in the four Group 1 races at Sha Tin Racecourse were announced Wednesday by the Hong Kong Jockey Club. There are 14 selected invitees in each race, and 26 of those 56 horses are Group 1 winners.

Chief among them is Highland Reel, who won the Breeders’ Cup Turf in his most recent start and will try to win the $2.13 million Hong Kong Vase over about 1 1/2 miles for the second year in a row. Also selected for the Vase are Erupt, who won the Canadian International, and the very good French horse Silverwave.

The Japanese horses A Shin Hikari and Maurice head the list of selected runners for the card’s richest race, the $3.22 million Hong Kong Cup over about 1 1/4 miles. Those two are easily the highest-rated selected runners in the Cup, followed by locally based Designs on Rome and Blazing Speed.

Able Friend, who returned from a yearlong layoff last weekend at Sha Tin, nominally tops the list of invitees to the $2.97 million Hong Kong Mile, a race he won in 2014. The field lacks standouts, with a pair of Japan-based horses, Logotype and Neorealism, among the potential contenders.

The $2.39 million Hong Kong Sprint will include the lone U.S. shipper, Pure Sensation, who most recently finished third in the BC Turf Sprint.