Jockey Club Cup redux? Blazing Speed versus Military Attack

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

November 20th, 2015

Like the Jockey Club Mile (G2) at Sha Tin, Saturday's Jockey Club Cup (G2) -- the course-and-distance prep for the Hong Kong Cup (G1) -- features a defending champion in Blazing Speed.

The Tony Cruz veteran has shown admirable versatility over the course of his career, winning two-thirds of Hong Kong’s Triple Crown for older horses in 2014 (the Steward’s Cup over a metric mile and the Champions & Chater Cup at about 1 1/2 miles). Unable to follow up on this prep win last year (when exiting his subpar performance in the Hong Kong Cup lame), Blazing Speed later earned an international Group 1 at this course and distance in the April 26 QEII Cup (G1). He resurfaced from his summer break with a late-running sixth, tenderly handled under 133 pounds, behind Contentment in the October 25 Sha Tin Trophy. That’s sure to bring the Dylan Thomas gelding on for Saturday.

But also likely to be on song is Military Attack, a former Hong Kong Horse of the Year who just missed to Blazing Speed in this race, and to Designs on Rome in the Hong Kong Cup, in 2014. Now an elder statesman at the age of seven, Military Attack may not be quite the irresistible force he once was. Still, this is arguably his ideal distance, and resumed with a useful third to Contentment in the Sha Tin Trophy at a metric mile. The Caspar Fownes trainee also drops 10 pounds off his big impost last time.

In addition to Blazing Speed, Cruz has two other contenders in Beauty Only and Helene Super Star, but both have yet to prove that they’re as effective at the trip. Beauty Only, a terrific winner of the Classic Mile back in January, subsequently had his stamina limitations exposed in the two ensuing legs of the Four-Year-Old Series. Happier when shortening up thereafter, he exits a fast-finishing second to Contentment in the Sha Tin Trophy. The son of Holy Roman Emperor tries once again to stretch out another quarter-mile. While Cruz believes that he’s stronger now, he’s leaving the option open of reverting to the Hong Kong Mile (G1) on International Day.

Stablemate Helene Super Star has the opposite concern, for he’d prefer a longer test. And his status as co-highweight with Blazing Speed (at 128 pounds) doesn’t help. Formerly known as Lines of Battle (winner of the 2013 U.A.E. Derby [G2] for Aidan O’Brien), Helene Super Star scored his biggest victory in the May 31 Champions & Chater. He may be using this as a stepping stone to the December 13 Hong Kong Vase (G1) at about 1 1/2 miles.

Also gearing up for the longer prize is Dominant, who famously upset The Fugue in the 2013 Vase and finished fourth to Flintshire last December. Presumably his stablemate from the John Moore yard, Helene Happy Star, would be a likelier type for the Vase as well. Not to be confused with the aforementioned Helene Super Star, Helene Happy Star really came into his own when tackling 1 1/2 miles, capturing the Queen Mother Memorial Cup and finishing a near-miss third in the Champions & Chater. Anything they’d do on Saturday is a bonus.

A new shooter to this company is Top Act, an improving customer for Tony Millard. The well-bred son of O’Reilly and an Aga Khan-bred mare comes off a new career high in the November 8 Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse. Admittedly, he was among the lightweights, and more workmanlike than brilliant, but he shaped like a horse who needs a step up to this trip. Top Act could be supplemented to International Day with a good showing.

Packing Llaregyb was eighth behind Top Act as the defending champion of the Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse; the transition from lightweight to 131-pound carrier made his task to repeat too hard. Khaya was along for sixth in the Ladies’ Purse. He’s another who could be eyeing the Vase, in which he was an opportunistic third last December.

Blazing Speed (right, orange silks) edges Military Attack (left, green silks) in the 2014 Jockey Club Cup. Photo courtesy of the Hong Kong Jockey Club.