Talismanic at home in high-rise Hong Kong

J A McGrath

Talismanic was among more than 20 international runners to breeze up the straight below the skyscrapers that form the backdrop at Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong's New Territories.

Partnered by regular work rider Vincent Champion, the Godolphin four-year-old had a leg-stretch and canter on the all-weather track early Wednesday.

He then walked back to the quarantine area on the turf course, on which he is scheduled to run in Sunday's G1 Hong Kong Vase, over 2,400m (one and a half miles).

Talismanic, with his big white face and distinctive markings, drew many interested glances from Hong Kong 'railbirds' (trackwork observers).

For a horse, who has travelled to California, back to his training base in France, then on to Hong Kong, this Breeders' Cup Turf winner looked in excellent shape.

Lisa-Jane Graffard, Racing Manager for Godolphin France, said: "Everything has been good with Talismanic since Del Mar. He has been kept ticking over and is in good form.

"He travelled back well from America, and has travelled out nicely to Hong Kong.

"The horse has a great temperament, which helps, and he has shown himself to be very adaptable," she pointed out.

"Talismanic is maturing and improving all the time, so who knows what level he can reach in Hong Kong. It will pose a different challenge, but he should run very well again.

"In the past, he has run better going left-handed (as at Del Mar) than right-handed (as he will encounter in Hong Kong), which could be one negative to look out for," she added.