Racing: Romantic assignation in Hong Kong

By Mike Dillon

Rising Romance contests the QEII Cup at Sha Tin tomorrow.
Rising Romance contests the QEII Cup at Sha Tin tomorrow.

Rising Romance lives up to her name in Hong Kong as she buddies up with Australian champion sprinter Buffering.

The former New Zealand mare is preparing for tomorrow's HK$20 million ($3.73 million) Audemars Piquet QEII Cup at Sha Tin.

For a single horse in Hong Kong the quarantine stables can be a bleak and unforgiving place, as are such stables all around the world.

Remember when the O'Sullivans purchased a large mirror for Horlicks for company when she was alone in quarantine in Tokyo just before her historic win in the Japan Cup.

Rising Romance's mirror is Buffering, the much-travelled 8-year-old Queensland veteran, just back from beating some of the world's best in Dubai. Australian and New Zealand horses quarantined together.

The pair have been inseparable since arriving in Hong Kong.

"It's hard case to see them together," Rising Romance's part-owner Victoria Carter told the Herald from Hong Kong yesterday.

Carter was formerly a director of the Auckland Racing Club and these days is deputy chair of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing.

Initially trained in New Zealand by the Logans, Rising Romance is now with David Hayes and his nephew Tom Dabernig. Hayes told Carter he would not have agreed to the trip but for his experience as a champion trainer in Hong Kong for a decade.

"Rising Romance has had high muscle enzyme levels [tying up] all her career.

"Her blood levels tell us she is on the improve in that area since she's been here."

Rising Romance has been three times group one placed this preparation, but Hayes agrees the talented mare's best form is only a touch away.

He says he'll be backing her because he liked her fourth in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Sydney where she led too early and was run down.

Hayes is also happy about the Buffering "romance".

"It's very helpful where they are both in a foreign environment."

Australian jockey Damian Lane rides Rising Romance.

Trying every bit as hard as Rising Romance and David Hayes at Sha Tin tomorrow will be leading New Zealand jockey Opie Bosson. He's in Hong Kong for a 21-meeting stint until the end of their season along with eight additional international invitees.

The HK Jockey Club will select a few from that group for permanent contracts next season, so Bosson is desperate to do well. He has four unfancied runners tomorrow, Gold Precious in Race 1, Thunder Dash (R2), Classic Vinegar (R4) and Happy Three in Race 6.

- NZ Herald

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