The Irish Times
Free Eagle all set for a Sha Tin swansong
Pat Smullen is hoping Free Eagle can add Hong Kong to his Group 1 list as he takes on some of the world’s best in tomorrow morning’s International Carnival at Sha Tin.
The ¤2.3 million Longines Cup (off at 8.30am Irish time) is the climax to a hugely prestigious card containing four top-flight races and which also sees Aidan O’Brien try to break his Hong Kong duck with Highland Reel in the Vase (6am), while Eddie Lynam’s stalwart, Sole Power has a fourth try at landing the Sprint (6.40am)
A victory for Free Eagle would put a Group 1 seal on a vintage 2015 for Smullen and give the Dermot Weld trained colt a perfect swansong to his racing career on-route to the Irish National Stud.
Smullen also rides Sir Micheal Stoute’s Cannock Chase against Highland Reel and the defending French champion Flintshire in the Vase.
The local star Designs On Rome ridden by Hong Kong’s Brazilian champion Joao Moreira, also defends his crown in the 10 furlong feature, which sees last year’s runner-up and third, Military Attack and Criterion, renew rivalry.
Free Eagle is the new ingredient in a contest which sees Ryan Moore on the Japanese hope Nuovo Record and global names Christophe Soumillon, Yutaka Take and Damien Oliver line up against the Irish hope.
Bookmakers have kept Free Eagle favourite, and Fiona Craig, spokesperson for Moyglare Stud, reports the colt has settled in well at Sha Tin.
“It’s a bit ironic that the horse who could be his biggest threat, Designs On Rome, is a horse we bred and sold as a yearling at Goffs for ¤10,000,” Craig said.