10/20/2016 2:33PM

Hong Kong: Group 1 winners prep for big races

Hong Kong Jockey Club
Peniaphobia won the 2015 edition of the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin.

The Group 1 winners Aerovelocity, Designs on Rome, and Peniaphobia will start in Group 2 races at Sha Tin Racecourse on Sunday in preparation for expected appearances in the Group 1 international races in Hong Kong on Dec. 11.

Aerovelocity and Peniaphobia have won the last two runnings of the Hong Kong Sprint and are part of a field of 12 in Sunday’s seventh race, the $515,616 Premier Bowl at six furlongs on turf.

Designs on Rome, the Horse of the Year in Hong Kong in 2013-14, will start in Sunday’s $515,616 Sha Tin Trophy at about a mile on turf.

The 10-race program begins at 1 a.m. Eastern on Sunday, or 10 p.m. Pacific on Saturday.

Peniaphobia will carry top weight of 133 pounds in the Premier Bowl, the second start of the Hong Kong season for the 5-year-old gelding. Peniaphobia was third in the Group 3 National Day Cup at five furlongs on turf Oct. 1, beaten a length by Amazing Kids, who is part of the Premier Bowl field.

Aerovelocity, who carries 131 pounds in Sunday’s race, has been lightly raced this year and has not run since finishing eighth in the Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize in May. An 8-year-old gelding, Aerovelocity won the Group 1 KrisFlyer Sprint in Singapore in May 2015.

Lucky Bubbles, second in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize, is a threat to the Group 1 winners. A 5-year-old, Lucky Bubbles will have his first start of the Hong Kong season on Sunday. Lucky Bubbles won the Group 2 Sprint Cup in Hong Kong in April.

Designs on Rome is one of four runners in the Sha Tin Trophy who were assigned top weight of 133 pounds. A 6-year-old Irish-bred gelding, Designs on Rome won the Group 1 Hong Kong Gold Cup in February, but is winless in his last three starts. In his last race, Designs on Rome was fourth in the Group 1 Champions and Chater Cup in May to Blazing Speed, another 133-pound runner in the Sha Tin Trophy.

Beauty Only and Contentment, second and fifth in the Group 3 Celebration Cup on Oct. 1, will carry 133 pounds in the Sha Tin Trophy, which will be their second starts of the Hong Kong season.