05/25/2017 2:56PM

Werther, Blazing Speed face off again in Champions and Chater

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Hong Kong Jockey Club
Werther (right) edges Blazing Speed to win the Hong Kong Gold Cup in February.

Werther was one of three horses on the finish line together in the Group 1 Champions and Chater Cup at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong last May. The problem for Werther was that he was third, beaten noses by Blazing Speed and Victory Magic.

A year later, Blazing Speed and Werther are back for Sunday’s $1,283,416 Champions and Chater Cup at 1 1/2 miles on turf, the final Group 1 race of the 2016-17 Hong Kong season.

In the last year, Werther has been in better form than Blazing Speed. Werther beat Blazing Speed by a nose in the Group 1 Hong Kong Gold Cup at 1 1/4 miles on turf in February. Since then, Werther has finished in front of Blazing Speed in two stakes, including third- and fourth-place finishes in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup in April.

Werther was beaten a half-length and was later found to have blood in his throat, according to Hong Kong Jockey Club records.

For Sunday’s race, Werther and Blazing Speed are part of a strong field of seven.

Eagle Way, the winner of the Group 1 Queensland Derby in Australia last June, won the Group 3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup at 1 1/2 miles on turf April 30, beating Helene Charisma and Gold Mount, who are part of the Champions and Chater Cup field.

The distance is a good fit for Eagle Way.

“He’s a horse that needs 1 1/2 miles to two miles,” trainer John Moore told Hong Kong publicity this week.

“His Queen Mother was terrific. Everything he has shown me suggests this race is ideal.”

Helene Charisma is winless in six starts in Hong Kong this season. His second in the Queen Mother Memorial Cup was the only time he has finished in the top three.

Gold Mount has had three career starts in Hong Kong, including a win in his debut in a minor handicap. Gold Mount won the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot last June when racing under the name Primitivo. Horses frequently have their names changed when they are transferred to Hong Kong.