By Jon Lees
Hong Kong: Singapore’s new sprinting star Inferno is to be tested on the international stage after being confirmed for the Longines Hong Kong Sprint on December 13, when he will be ridden by Zac Purton.
The winner of eight out of nine starts, the four-year-old was nominated for the Sha Tin G1 after completing a stunning victory in the 6f Lion City Cup at Kranji last month.
Winning rider Vlad Duric said he had never ridden a horse like Inferno during his time in Singapore after a two-length success, completed in a time just outside the track record held by Sacred Kingdom, a former Hong Kong Sprint winner.
The trip for Inferno, who is owned by Glenn Whittenbury’s Baree Stable, and trainer Cliff Brown has been made possible by the imminent opening of an air travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong.
Brown said: “It’s tremendous to get the invite for Inferno from the Hong Kong Jockey Club. It’s a nice horse to take there and it’ll also be my first participation at the Hong Kong International Races.
“Obviously, it’s great the air travel bubble will be in place then, but we still have to go under very strict protocols even if we don’t have to do any 14-day quarantine. We as trainers can only go to the stables and head back to our hotel. We’ll be segregated, but that’s okay, that’s the way it is.
“Only my track rider Sabri and myself will be going, Glenn can’t go. Hong Kong Jockey Club has booked our tickets on December 3 and Inferno leaves on December 4.”
Australian Brown’s only previous international foray came with Debt Agent, who finished ninth in the G1 Dubai Turf at Meydan in 2017.
“We know it’s a high-pressure race and the pace is always on, but that’s the race for him, he deserves a shot,” he said.
The Hong Kong Sprint is also the confirmed target for Godolphin’s Japan-based G1 winner Tower Of London. Trainer Kazuo Fujisawa said William Buick will be in the saddle.