02/23/2017 12:56PM

Two Group 1 races on Sha Tin card

Hong Kong Jockey Club
Able Friend is looking for his first win in the current Hong Kong season.

On Sunday at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong, Able Friend will have the fourth start of his comeback in the Group 1 Queen’s Silver Cup Jubilee. The 7-year-old gelding will have familiar rivals in the seven-furlong turf race, which is worth $1,288,825.

The Queen’s Silver Cup Jubilee is the third race on a 10-race program. Wagering is available on DRFBets.com.

Trained by John Moore, Able Friend was third in the Group 1 Stewards’ Cup at a mile at Sha Tin on Jan. 30 behind Helene Paragon and Joyful Trinity, who are part of Sunday’s field of eight. He has won nine group stakes in Hong Kong, including four Group 1 races. He was sidelined for nine months by a tendon injury before returning to action late last year.

Able Friend resumed racing in November. He is winless in three starts during the current Hong Kong season and was beaten 1 1/4 lengths by Helene Paragon after racing in traffic in the Stewards’ Cup. Able Friend won the 2015 Silver Cup Jubilee when in peak form, the fourth of six consecutive wins.

Moore told Hong Kong publicity Thursday that he has seen glimpses of that ability in Able Friend’s recent training. Moore was interviewed after Able Friend had a workout at Sha Tin, going about a half-mile in 53.9 seconds, including a final quarter-mile in 25.4.

“I’m confident that if he gets clear running, on his work this morning and the fact that he has improved in his work, he’ll be winning on Sunday,” he said. “He’s a few lengths better than even Helene Paragon.

“He’s a fitter horse since the Stewards’ Cup, and I think he’s the horse to beat.”

Moore trains Helene Paragon, who got his first Group 1 win in the Stewards’ Cup.

There are two Group 1 races at Sha Tin on Sunday. Beauty Only, fifth behind Helene Paragon in the Stewards’ Cup, is part of a strong field of seven in the $1,288,825 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup at 1 1/4 miles on turf.

Beauty Only won consecutive Group 1 races last fall – the Jockey Club Mile in November and the Hong Kong Mile against an international field in December. Trained by Tony Cruz, Beauty Only must beat two formidable group stakes winners trained by Moore – Werther and Designs On Rome. They were sixth and eighth in the Stewards’ Cup but have shown brighter form in the last year.