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Highland Reel signs off in style in Hong Kong

10 Dec 2017

Aidan O'Brien-trained five-year-old brings down curtain on his brilliant career with seventh Group One win

Highland Reel and Moore power to victory in the Hong Kong Vase. Picture: Racingfotos.com

Highland Reel signed off his remarkable career in fitting style on Sunday with a second success in the Longines Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin.

The five-year-old was having his final start for Aidan O’Brien before heading to stud and Ryan Moore had his mount quickly away, settling in behind front-runner Helene Charisma.

He was still sitting in second nearing the turn for home in the 12-furlong heat, but Moore soon pushed on and Highland Reel pulled ahead at the top of the straight.

Andre Fabre’s Talismanic, who had Highland Reel back in third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf last month, appeared to be travelling well in behind and he made his bid for home.

However, Highland Reel was not to be denied a seventh Group One victory – three of them gained in QIPCO British Champions Series races – and he dug deep to repel Talismanic’s challenge and seal a perfect farewell.

Highland Reel won this race in 2015 before having to settle for second last year and Moore paid tribute to his mount.

“We’ve brought him back here the last three years, he’s been around the world – this is a really fitting way for him to finish,” he said. “He’s been a brilliant racehorse and there’s plenty to look forward to at stud now.

“We thought the longer straight here would help, he’s a very, very good horse, his record shows that, and it’s been a delight to be a part of (it).”

Highland Reel was already Europe’s highest money earner and scooped another £1 million for his connections. In total, he won £7,513,355 in prize-money.

The other Champions Series winners in action at the meeting were unable to make an impact. Max Dynamite was sixth in the Vase, while Roly Poly finished last of 14 in the Longines Hong Kong Mile.