From Ireland to Hong Kong, Highland Reel Goes the Distance


The words Highland Reel and globe-trotter have become synonymous in racing circles. After running in seven countries on four continents, the Irish born and based 5-year-old racehorse will make his 27th and final career start Sunday more than 6,000 miles from home when he lines up for the Hong Kong Vase.

The Vase serves as one of four races that make up the Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin Racecourse in the New Territories, and Highland Reel’s third trip there underscores the goal of one of the richest days in the sport.

Billed as the Turf World Championships, the Hong Kong International Races are held annually on the second Sunday in December. The four Group 1 contests, the highest level in the sport, are worth, in Hong Kong dollars, a combined 84.5 million, or $10.8 million: the Hong Kong Cup (25 million dollars), Hong Kong Mile (23 million dollars), Hong Kong Sprint (18.5 million dollars) and Hong Kong Vase (18 million dollars).

“This meeting is the most substantial showcase of Hong Kong racing to the world, and it brings together some of the top horses and connections from all corners,” said Anthony Kelly, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s executive director of racing, business, and operations. “It truly is also the year-ending celebration for world racing.”

Beyond the horses themselves, which have a large impact on the Hong Kong sporting scene, the entire week has become an important one on a global scale when it comes to horse racing.

Source: The New York Times