• A weekly round-up of international horse racing snippets
France Skalleti routs rivals to set up G1 challenge
Last year’s Champion Stakes runner-up Skalleti made a highly impressive start to his six-year-old campaign when coasting to victory in the G3 Prix Exbury at Saint-Cloud.
Despite conceding weight to his rivals, the grey gelding dismissed G3 winners Grand Glory and Ecrivain with ease to record his 13th win by 3½ lengths on heavy ground. Trained in Provence by Jerome Reynier, Skalleti will now bid to open in his G1 account in the Prix Ganay at ParisLongchamp on May 2.
On the same card, last year’s Prix Marcel Boussac winner Tiger Tanaka finished second on her return to action behind Sweet Lady in a Listed contest.
• Read the France Galop report from Saint-Cloud
Japan Hong Kong target for Daring Tact
Daring Tact, who landed the fillies’ Triple Crown in Japan in 2020, will get the chance to atone for a shock recent defeat by travelling to Hong Kong for the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup on April 25 at Sha Tin.
Daring Tact was not seen to best effect on her seasonal debut at odds of 2-5 in the Kinko Sho at Chukyo, when she finished too late to catch 226-1 shot Gibeon, a horse who had not won for three years.
Japan won the QE2 Cup two years ago with Win Bright and are responsible for 11 entries in the race, which will be one of three G1 races on FWD Champions Day.
• Read more on Champions Day on the Hong Kong Jockey Club website
Australia Verry Elleegant Arc plan coming together
Verry Elleegant’s rescheduled clash with Addeybb may be one of her last at home this year as plans crystallise around a crack at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for the Caulfield Cup winner.
“The rest of the ownership group is on board if it can be done and I know Chris (Waller, trainer) is warming to the prospect of putting her on the world stage,” said part-owner Brae Sokolski to Racing.com.
“They are lofty ambitions we have for her on the global stage, but the time will be absolutely right for her. She’ll be a six-year-old mare at the peak of her powers going to her best distance (2,400m) and likely on a suitable wet surface. There just isn’t much left for her in the spring here.”
• Read more at Racing.com
Hong Kong Russian Emperor denied first Derby win
Royal Ascot winner Russian Emperor was narrowly beaten in Sunday’s BMW-sponsored Hong Kong Derby at Sha Tin, where the former Ballydoyle trainee finished fast but too late to deny Sky Darci in the famous HK$24 million (£2.3m) contest.
Now trained by Douglas Whyte, the son of Galileo charged home but fell just a head short of the Joao Moreira-ridden winner. “It was the longest 200 metres I’ve ever seen in a race, that’s for sure,” said winning trainer Caspar Fownes.
• Read the HKJC report
Australia Dabernig goes solo
There is to be another change on the nameplate at the Lindsay Park training operation after Tom Dabernig announced he was leaving the family business to go solo at the end of the season.
The partnership of Hayes, Hayes and Dabernig became Hayes and Dabernig this season when senior member David Hayes moved back to Hong Kong to train. It will henceforth be known as Hayes and Hayes with JD Hayes joining brother Ben on the licence.
Dabernig, grandson of the legendary Colin Hayes and cousin of Ben, has spent more than 25 years with Lindsay Park.
Australia English King set for Saturday debut
English King, one-time favourite for last year’s Derby at Epsom, is ready to make his Australian debut at the weekend. The colt, who finished fifth in Britain’s senior Classic, changed hands for 925,000gns at auction and is being aimed at the Golden Mile, a Listed race at Bendigo, by new trainer Mike Moroney.
• Read the full story at the Just Horse Racing website
South Africa De Kock targets Breeders’ Cup with Queen Supreme
Mike De Kock has begun the long process of preparing a horse for an overseas campaign by putting G1 winner Queen Supreme into quarantine to target the Breeders’ Cup. The five-year-old mare has entered quarantine in Kenilworth before spending three months in Mauritius, then fly to Newmarket ahead of a trip to Del Mar in November.
Queen Supreme won the G1 Paddock Stakes for the second time in January after which major US owner Gary Barber bought an interest in the horse.