Lauded French trainer Andre Fabre produced Junko (GB) under Maxine Guyon to win the HK$24m, Group 1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday shortly after celebrating his 77th birthday for his third victory in the race.
Maxine Guyon commences the winning salute on Junko (GB), picture Liesl KingAt his last start Junko won the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Bayen (2400m) at Munich on soft ground on November 5th, On Sunday he adapted to the Good rated Shin Tin track in temperatures of 25c and won decisively with Guyon giving a suitable salute after the line for Fabre and the crowd.
Guyon settled last from the start with La City Blanche (ARG) and Zac Purton setting a sedate pace into and down the back straight. Ryan Moore kept Warm Heart (IRE) right on La City Blanche’s flank and waited while the rest stalked the two leaders.
On the bottom turn Moore decided the pace needed to increase and he sent Warm Heart forward and immediately La City Blanche was under pressure. Into the main straight for the long haul home Moore had Warm Heart clear in front and an Irish victory looked a possibility.
However Guyon was ready and he cleared the pack with the four-year-old Intello gelding before collaring Warm Heart with 250m to run and the race was in their keeping and ready for celebrations all round.
Damien Lane on Zeffiro (JPN) (Deep Impact) came through for second after also racing at the back of the field and Warm Heart (Galileo) and Moore kept third for another Group 1 placing for the three-year-old filly.
The margins were 1L and 2 2/4L with the time on the Good rated track 2.30.12.
Fabre has taken Junko, who races in the famous colours of the Wertheimer’s, up the ladder to the pinnacle of Group 1 wins in succession. This was his seventh win from 14 starts along with five placings at black type level.
The previous wins for Fabre were Borgia in 1999 and Flintshire in 2014.
"We did not know before the race if he would like this ground or not because normally he prefers the soft ground, but today in Hong Kong the ground was good. We had a good race, there were not many runners so I was not too far back just after the last turn, he has a good turn of foot," said Guyon.
“I am really delighted,” said Fabre.
“It was expected because he has improving race after race. He has not had a lot of races, he is only four. He had a setback in Deauville so he could not run in the Grand Prix and he had the race in Germany. He did not run that much. He will be back in Dubai, we kept him for that and for the international races."
Junko and Guyon, picture Liesl King