09/29/2016 3:48PM

Peniaphobia, Not Listenin’tome end long vacations in National Day Cup

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Neville Hopwood/Dubai Racing Club
Peniaphobia returns from a four-month break in the National Day Cup at Sha Tin.

Peniaphobia and Not Listenin’tome, who were third and eighth in the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai in March, return from summertime breaks in Saturday’s $386,622 National Day Cup at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong.

The Group 3 National Day Cup is one of two group stakes on an 11-race program that begins at 12:30 a.m., Eastern, or 9:30 p.m. Pacific on Friday. The program includes the $386,622 Celebration Cup Handicap at seven furlongs on turf.

The National Day Cup is run at five furlongs and drew a field of seven. Peniaphobia is the 133-pound highweight in his first start since a win in the Group 3 Sha Tin Vase in Hong Kong on May 22. In the Sha Tin Vase, Peniaphobia beat Amazing Kids, a four-time winner in Hong Kong who has strong credentials for Saturday’s race.

Peniaphobia, a 5-year-old Irish-bred gelding, often shows speed and will be prominent early in the National Day Cup, which is run on a straightaway. Last December, Peniaphobia won the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin, the leading sprint in Hong Kong each year.

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p>Peniaphobia could face early pressure from Amber Sky, who won the 2014 Al Quoz but is winless in his last 11 starts.

 

The Group 1 winner Contentment is the 133-pound top weight against 11 rivals in the Celebration Cup Handicap.

Contentment, a 6-year-old Australian-bred gelding, was last of 12 in the Grade 1 Yasuda Kinen in Japan in June in his last start, but won the Group 1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup at seven furlongs in Hong Kong last February. Contentment was second to Maurice, Japan’s 2015 Horse of the Year, in the Group 1 Champions Cup Mile in Hong Kong in May.

Helene Paragon and Packing Pins merit attention. Helene Paragon, who will carry 131 pounds, has won three of his last four starts. Packing Pins was third behind Maurice and Contentment in the Champions Cup Mile.