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HONG KONG — The anticipation grows as Hong Kong’s biggest horse racing event draws nearer. Sunday at Sha Tin Racecourse will see the running of four international Group 1 invitationals over turf, including the finale of the World Series Racing Championships, the Hong Kong Cup.

Thirty-five top-level horses will join the locals, bringing the total number of entrants in the four races to 56. In addition to the 2,000-meter Cup, the 1,200 -meter Sprint, the Mile and the 2,400-meter Hong Kong Vase are being run.

Five horses from Japan have been flown to Hong Kong for the challenge. Three, Lohengrin, Telegnosis, and Admire Max, will participate in the Mile, with Hong Kong veteran Eishin Preston and Magnaten taking on the Cup.

On Friday at Sha Tin, Japan fared well with an international panel of handicappers. The panel of 13 from 12 countries, who gave their top three picks for each of the international races, picked Silent Witness to win in the Mile, with Japan’s Lohengrin to place, Admire Max as their favorite to show.

In the Cup, which carries a first-place prize of HK$10.2 million ($1.3 million), the panel nearly unanimously chose Italy’s Falbrav (winner of seven Group 1s) to win, Japan’s Eishin Preston and 2001 Cup winner, most likely to place. (Barbara Bayer)

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