Mogul will try to return to his best as he defends his Longines Hong Kong Vase title at Sha Tin on Sunday.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained four-year-old won the 12-furlong Group One last December but has failed to strike in four starts so far this term, with his best run coming when third in the Prix Ganay at ParisLongchamp back in May.
Mogul has not run since finishing down the field in a Group Three at Deauville in August, but big-race rider Ryan Moore thinks he has every chance of bouncing back in Hong Kong and emulating Highland Reel, who was a dual winner of the race in 2015 and 2017.
He said: “He’s had a quiet year. He started in Dubai and ran respectably and (then) ran a good race in Paris in the Prix Ganay before the ground was very soft at Epsom for the Coronation and he didn’t like it and it was the same again when he went back to Deauville.
“A few things haven’t gone quite right for him through the summer, so he’s been lightly raced. His work’s been good at home and he looks great. We know he likes Sha Tin and he likes quick ground. I believe Aidan’s very happy with him, so we’re hoping that he can step back in the right direction.”
Pyledriver represents British interests in the Vase.
O’Brien and Moore also team up with Mother Earth in the Longines Hong Kong Mile, in which they face local sensation Golden Sixty, who will be bidding for a 19th career victory.
The 1000 Guineas winner has enjoyed a sterling season, hitting the frame in seven Group Ones, winning two, but she failed to sparkle in the Breeders’ Cup Mile last time out.
Moore said “The race in Del Mar, she drew in the middle and didn’t get away that quickly, the pace was steady and it was impossible to make up ground in that very short straight there.
“She’s been consistent all year. The race on Sunday is very strong with Golden Sixty and a live Japanese contingent. It’s going to be tough for her but she’s got a nice draw, gets a nice weight pull and she usually runs a good race.”
Bolshoi Ballet is the Ballydoyle representative in the Longines Hong Kong Cup as he drops back to 10 furlongs having finished sixth over a mile and a half in the Breeders’ Cup Turf on his most recent run.
Moore told www.hkjc.com: “He won a Grade One in America at 10 (furlongs) and his two wins at the start of the year were over the 10 furlongs. He’s obviously very happy at that distance. I had high hopes for him and (while) he hasn’t run bad races lately, I would like to have seen a little bit more from him.
“The quick ground will be in his favour and I don’t think Sha Tin will be any problem.”
While Moore is happy with a firm track at Sha Tin, the going is a worry for William Haggas ahead of Dubai Honour’s run in the Hong Kong Cup.
The three-year-old has been on a rapid upward trajectory this term, winning a Newmarket handicap off 93 in July before picking up two Group Two heats in France and being beaten less than a length in the Champion Stakes last time out.
Haggas has not made the trip to Hong Kong and while Dubai Honour’s prep has gone well, the trainer expressed his reservations about the ground.
He said: “My fear, and I think it’s Tom’s (Marquand, jockey) fear, is the ground.
“Although he ran on and won at Newmarket on fast ground in July, he has run his best three races on soft ground.
“I never thought he had to have soft ground but it’s maybe that he does so if that’s the case it would bring a place Australia into place in 2023.
“But we will see. It’s good. We would love to come back here but let’s get Sunday out of the way first.”
Mac Swiney also lines up for Jim Bolger in the Hong Kong Cup.
Pixie Knight heads a strong Japanese challenge for the Longines Hong Kong Sprint, with last year’s victory Danon Smash, also lining up.