04/29/2016 2:37PM

Mongolian Saturday set for 2016 debut at Sha Tin

Hong Kong Jockey Club
Mongolian Saturday will make his first start of the season in Sunday's Chairman's Sprint at Sha Tin Racecourse.

Mongolian Saturday, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Keeneland last October, will have his first start of 2016 in Sunday’s $1,289,191 Chairman’s Sprint Prize at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong.

The Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize, run at six furlongs on turf, was not intended to be Mongolian Saturday’s first start of the year. The 6-year-old gelding was scratched from the Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai last month after developing an illness following a flight from the United States.

Owned by Ganbaatar Dagvadorj and trained by Ganbat Enebish, Mongolian Saturday faces a field of remarkable depth. The race is led by Buffering and Peniaphobia, the first and third finishers in the Al Quoz Sprint on March 26; Chautauqua, the winner of the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes at Randwick in Australia on April 2; and Aerovelocity, who won Grade 1 and Group 1 turf sprints in Hong Kong and Singapore last year.

Aerovelocity missed a start in Japan in March because of a bout with colic. A 7-year-old gelding, Aerovelocity won the Centenary Sprint Cup in Hong Kong in January, his only start this year.

The richest race on Sunday’s Sha Tin program is the $1,804,867 Champions Mile on turf. The Group 1 race is led by Maurice, the Japanese Horse of the Year in 2015.

Unraced this year, Maurice has won his last six starts, including the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile at Sha Tin last December. Maurice has 11 rivals, a group led by Giant Treasure, who was second in the Hong Kong Mile, and Contentment and Beauty Flame, who were first and second in the Group 1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup at seven furlongs on turf at Sha Tin in February.