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Cup draw sets poser for Free Eagle team

FREE EAGLE will break from stall nine under Pat Smullen when he attempts to add Longines Hong Kong Cup glory to his Prince of Wales’s Stakes success on Sunday.

The 1m2f start is less than a furlong from the first turn at Sha Tin and Smullen will have to make a choice between racing wide or sitting back aboard Free Eagle, the highest rated horse at the meeting.

The Irish champion jockey was not done many favours either when Cannock Chase drew the widest berth of all, stall 13, in the Vase, though with a much longer run to the turn, the result of Thursday morning’s ceremony is less of a factor.

Cirrus Des Aigles was just inside in box 12 and Corine Barande-Barbe summed up the feeling among many of the European trainers in the 1m4f contest.

“I’d have preferred a lower number but it is not too serious in the Vase,” she said.

Nine-year-old Cirrus Des Aigles will make his sixth start at the meeting but only his second in the Vase.

Barande-Barbe added: “He is more competitive over 2,400 metres when the ground is quick – which it will be despite the rain – as he has shown in Dubai and at Epsom.”

Draw round-up

Local hero Able Friend has drawn stall ten in his defence of the Mile, in which Toormore is housed in nine, Mondialiste will break from 13 and the Andre Fabre-trained Esoterique is towards the inner in three.

Co-owner David Power drew stall number eight for Sole Power, Europe’s only representative in the Sprint.

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