06/02/2017 1:27PM

Hong Kong: Circuit Land looks primed for Lion Rock Trophy


Circuit Land has chased two of the best runners in Hong Kong in recent starts, and may achieve his elusive first group stakes win in Sunday’s Group 3 Lion Rock Trophy at a mile on turf at Sha Tin.

Circuit Land was second in the Group 3 January Cup at the start of the year. More recently, he was third to Rapper Dragon in the Group 2 Chairman’s Trophy on April 9, and fourth behind Contentment in the Group 1 Champions Mile on May 7. Rapper Dragon captured the Hong Kong Triple Crown for 4-year-olds earlier this year.

A Kentucky-bred by Mizzen Mast, the 6-year-old Circuit Land began his career in France, where he raced under the name Sailing Club. Horses typically have their names changed when they are sent to Hong Kong.

Circuit Land had his Hong Kong debut in May 2015, and has won 4 of 24 starts. This is his first year to run in group stakes for trainer Danny Shum, who is best known internationally for winning the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2011 with Little Bridge.

Circuit Land is the 133-pound top weight in the $385,059 Lion Rock Trophy and will be ridden by Craig Williams. Circuit Land typically races from off the pace, although he could be closer to normal on Sunday since the race does not have a confirmed pacesetter.

Eastern Express, the winner of a minor handicap at Sha Tin on April 30, also races near the front. A 5-year-old, Eastern Express was 10th in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase last December.

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Eastern Express will carry 115, as will Booming Delight, who was second to Eastern Express on April 30 and second in a handicap at Sha Tin on May 21. The Lion Rock Trophy will be a class test for Booming Delight, the first start in a group stakes for the 4-year-old gelding.

Last year in England, Booming Delight was sixth as the 11-2 favorite in the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot when racing under the name Out and About. Booming Delight won three consecutive races in lower company in Hong Kong in January and February.