Winchester, the only United States-based horse taking part in the 2010 Cathay Pacific International Races at Sha Tin Racecourse Dec. 12, drew post post position 3 for the HK$14 million Hong Kong Vase (HK-I).
Mr. and Mrs. Bertram R. Firestone's 5-year-old homebred will face 13 rivals in the 2,400-meter (about 1 1/2 miles) grass event. Olivier Peslier has the riding assignment for trainer Christophe Clement.
Among Winchester's opponents are Ireland's 3-year-old colt Joshua Tree, winner of the Pattison Canadian International (Can-IT) at Woodbine Oct. 16, and Great Britain's Redwood, victorious in the Northern Dancer Dancer Turf Stakes Presented by Vtech (Can-IT), also at Woodbine, Sept. 19.
Defending Hong Kong Horse of the Year Viva Pataca is the local favorite. The 8-year-old won the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup (HK-I) at Sha Tin April 25, one of eight group I wins in his career, to become the highest-earning runner in Hong Kong history. Still, trainer John Moore has reservations.