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Takedown, Rebel Dane take on world’s best sprinters in Honkers

Tue, Dec 6, 3:20pm by Bren O'Brien

Winterbottom Stakes winner Takedown is looking to take his Group 1 winning form from Perth to Hong Kong this week when the emerging sprint star to tackle some of the world’s best sprinters this Sunday.

Early markets have Takedown, trained by former Hong Kong-based Gary Moore, at $8.50 fourth favourite for the race, while Manikato Stakes winner Rebel Dane, Australia’s other horse in town for the Hong Kong International raceday, is at $16.

Takedown has progressed from a pair of Group 2 wins in Sydney at the start of this campaign to a win at the top level last start in Perth which prompted scenes of wild jubilation from Moore.

The trainer had long held ambitions to take the son of Stratum to Hong Kong, where he spent much of his life, including a successful career as a jockey riding for his famous father George.

Tim Clark, also a former Hong Kong based jockey, will take the ride on the four-year-old.

Local sprinter Lucky Bubbles is the $3.50 favourite for the race and is the clear horse to beat on his three wins and three seconds in his past six starts at the track and distance. Australian jockey Brett Prebble will ride the favourite.

Japanese sprinter Big Arthur is second pick at $4.60, while another Japanese speedster, Red Falx, the winner of the recent Sprinters Stakes, is an $8 third pick.

The past two winners of this race, Aerovelocity (2014) and Peniaphobia (2015), both locally trained, are rated $12 and $15 shots respectively in the Sportsbet market.

Not Listenin’tome, the former Australian sprinter who is now trained by John Moore, Gary’s brother, produced an upset to win a recent key lead-up event and is $13. He will be ridden by Hugh Bowman, who has rides in all four feature races.

Rebel Dane produced one of the upsets of the spring when he won the Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley in October, his second Group 1 win from 21 attempts at the top level.

He is a $16 chance on Sunday with jockey Ben Melham in the saddle.

An Australian horse hasn’t won the race since Falvelon went back to back in 2000-2001

There are a few horses familiar to Australians running around in the other feature races on Sunday.

Highland Reel, second to Winx in the 2015 Cox Plate, is $2.80 favourite to successfully defend his Hong Kong Vase (2400m) title having won the Breeders Cup Turf and run second in Le Arc De Triomphe at his past two runs. Big Orange also contests that race and is $6.

Local champ Able Friend is $5.50 favourite to win the Hong Kong Mile, while Japanese star Maurice is short=priced favourite ($2.20) for the Hong Kong Cup.

Suggested Bet: Back Highland Ree0 at $2.80 in the Vase

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