Evergreen Cirrus primed for fourth attempt at Hong Kong Cup

Corine Barande-Barbe believes her stable star Cirrus Des Aigles to be as good as ever as he prepares for a fourth attempt at the Longines Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin on Sunday week.

His third to Akeed Mofeed 12 months ago is his best performance to date, having finished fifth in 2011 and seventh in 2010, and this will be the fifth time he has run at the meeting as he was fifth in the 2009 renewal of the Hong Kong Vase.

He should have run in the Hong Kong Cup in 2012 but was injured on the eve of the meeting which resulted in a lengthy spell on the sidelines until the following June.

He was also on the easy list for a while after winning the Coronation Cup at Epsom in June this year, but Barande-Barbe reports her pride and joy to be back firing on all cylinders.

Cirrus Des Aigles has shown little sign of waning despite 60 career starts, the latest of which came in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot where he was fifth to Noble Mission.

“Cirrus came back very well from Ascot and it has been the plan to go to Hong Kong ever since,” the French trainer said.

“At Ascot, in the Champion Stakes, I think he had not completely recovered from his comeback (in the Prix Dollar).

“We did not have enough time between the Prix Dollar on Arc weekend and the race at Ascot after such a long lay-off. His comeback was a bit messy, stressful to say the least. It wasn’t enough to get ready for Ascot but he surely is ready now.

“You know, he’s already had a longer lay-off back in 2013 and it took him a long time to come back. Everybody thought he was done for good, back then! He’s won three Group Ones since.

“Honestly, I think that he’s never gone to Hong Kong in such good spirits and state of fitness. Everything has ideally fallen in its place.

“It is true that Cirrus has got an edge when there is some cut in the ground but we know we will not get such a surface in Hong Kong, a perfectly drained and maintained course. But he has won on good ground.”

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