Hong Kong Horseracing News

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Almond Eye is among a stellar line-up of 50 horses selected for the HK$93 million LONGINES Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin on Sunday, 8 December.

Japan’s superstar filly is just one of the 26 G1 winners set to compete and the headliner among a brilliantly-talented contingent of 24 overseas raiders aiming at this year’s “Turf World Championships”.

The LONGINES HKIR is the sport’s global year-end Group 1 extravaganza and features the HK$28 million LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m), the HK$25 million LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m), the HK$20 million LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) and the HK$20 million LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m).

Almond Eye is one of 11 in a powerful cohort from Japan, which also features crack milers Indy Champ, Normcore and Admire Mars, this year’s classic heroine Loves Only You and further star fillies Lucky Lilac and the talented globe-trotter Deirdre, as well as G1 FWD QEII Cup (2000m) victor Win Bright.

The exciting fields for the four Group 1 features also include big-name Europeans: the six-strong Irish party includes G1 Irish Champion Stakes and G1 Champion Stakes heroine Magical – another outstanding filly on the world stage – who is set to lock horns with Almond Eye in what promises to be an enthralling Hong Kong Cup clash.

Magical’s G1-winning stable mates Circus Maximus, Magic Wand and Anthony Van Dyck are also among the event’s selected runners – the last-named is set to become the first winner of the Derby at Epsom to compete at the LONGINES HKIR. G1 Preis von Europa winner Aspetar is one of four challengers from Britain, while France has two high-class selected runners including Edisa, winner of the Jockey Club Oaks Invitational at Belmont Park in New York.

Australian representation comes in the form of the speedy mare In Her Time, a two-time G1 winner and third in the recent G1 Darley Sprint Classic (1200m).

A strong Hong Kong team is headed by established G1 big guns Beauty Generation and Exultant, and the exhilarating rising star sprinter Aethero.

Beauty Generation, Mr Stunning, Exultant and Glorious Forever completed an unprecedented Hong Kong clean-sweep of last year’s races and the quartet is engaged to defend their crowns. Beauty Generation in the Mile and Mr Stunning in the Sprint will attempt to match legendary miler Good Ba Ba’s record of three straight wins at the meeting.

Mr. Andrew Harding, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Executive Director, Racing, said: “The LONGINES Hong Kong International Races is firmly established among a select handful of the world’s greatest international racing occasions. We are delighted that the quality of the selected runners for this year’s LONGINES Hong Kong International Races is in keeping with our long-held commitment to deliver sporting excellence.

“Almond Eye’s participation is particularly exciting when viewed in the context of the other world-class horses selected – champions of the calibre of Beauty Generation and Exultant, other global stars like Magical and the Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck, and the list is long and strong. Factor in the potential of rising stars like Aethero, Waikuku and our Derby winner Furore and everything points to a thrilling afternoon of sport on 8 December.”

Hong Kong Cup

World superstar Almond Eye heads to Sha Tin with a record of eight wins from 10 starts, with six G1 victories to her name. After winning last year’s Fillies’ Triple Crown in Japan, the four-year-old smashed her rivals in the G1 Dubai Turf at Meydan and ran with merit at a mile when third in the G1 Yasuda Kinen. The daughter of two-time LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint winner Lord Kanaloa returned from a long summer break with an impressive success in the G1 Tenno Sho Autumn (2000m) in October. Compatriot Win Bright is one from one at the course and distance thanks to his G1 FWD QEII Cup win in April.

Among those out to prevent a sixth Japanese win in the race are the Aidan O’Brien-trained top-liner Magical, winner of the Irish and “British” Champion Stakes, and recent G1 Mackinnon Stakes winner Magic Wand. Last year’s winner Glorious Forever is engaged again, as is his full-brother and 2017 victor Time Warp but the biggest home contenders could be the improving G1-placed Rise High and last season’s BMW Hong Kong Derby hero Furore.

Hong Kong Mile

Good Ba Ba is the only horse in HKIR history to win three times and he achieved the feat in the Hong Kong Mile in consecutive years. Beauty Generation, imperious in making it two wins in a row last year and another star of world racing, will have to bounce back from two recent defeats if he is to make the hat-trick. The world’s top-rated miler will face his latest conqueror, the improving Waikuku, as well as some brilliant overseas raiders.

Japan’s assault has a formidable look to it: Indy Champ defeated Almond Eye when taking the G1 Yasuda Kinen in June and last weekend the colt saw off the highly-regarded Danon Premium to win the second of his country’s two big mile races, the G1 Mile Championship, the same two races the powerhouse champion Maurice won before taking this prize in 2015; two-time G1 winner Admire Mars, the G1-winning filly Normcore and the top-class Persian Knight are also selected for Japan. Ireland’s Circus Maximus represents the best European mile form, having won the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes and G1 Prix du Moulin this year.

Hong Kong Sprint

Mr Stunning has peaked for the last two editions of this race and will attempt to become the Hong Kong Sprint’s first three-time winner. But he faces the flash new kid on the Hong Kong sprinting block, Aethero, who will attempt to become the first Southern Hemisphere-bred three-year-old to win a G1 at the HKIR: the chestnut, sensational when winning the recent G2 Jockey Club Sprint (1200m), has drawn comparisons to past champion Able Friend. The outstanding line-up includes plenty of other top-class contenders too: the talented grey Hot King Prawn is back from a setback and is a G2 winner of untapped potential at this level, while Hong Kong’s champion sprinter Beat The Clock is in, as is D B Pin, runner-up in the past two editions.

Japan’s Danon Smash and Australia’s In Her Time provide the overseas challenge. The former is a three-time G3 winner who has posted smart efforts in Japan’s two G1 sprints this year, placing fourth in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen (1200m) and third in the Sprinters Stakes (1200m). In Her Time has won the G1 Galaxy and G1 Black Caviar Lightning and was a fine third in the G1 Darley Sprint Classic (1200m) last time.

Hong Kong Vase

Exultant has proven to be one of the world’s top stayers since winning last year’s Vase, which saw subsequent Cox Plate winner Lys Gracieux in second place and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe hero Waldgeist in fifth. Hong Kong’s champion stayer is set to face another tough line-up with Japan and Europe offering strong contenders.

Anthony Van Dyck is set to become the first Derby (English) winner to contest the LONGINES Hong Kong Vase. The Ballydoyle-trained colt is selected alongside well-regarded stablemate Mount Everest who missed most of this year but returned in the autumn to run a promising sixth in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf. The British raiders are Aspetar, winner of the G1 Preis von Europa, Prince Of Arran who has made the frame in the past two renewals of the G1 Melbourne Cup, and the well-regarded G3 winner Young Rascal.

Japan has some of its best fillies and mares slated to take on Exultant: Deirdre, runner-up in the Hong Kong Cup last year, has been a marvel on her travels this year and won the G1 Nassau Stakes; Lucky Lilac won the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Kyoto last time; G1 Yushun Himba winner Loves Only You met her first defeat in five starts when third that day; Glory Vase is a G2-winning and G1-placed stayer.

Almond Eye and Saturnalia are standouts in Sunday’s Tenno Sho Autumn25 Oct 2019

Japan’s leading lady Almond Eye takes centre stage with a highly-anticipated return in the 160th running of the G1 Tenno Sho (2000m) at Tokyo Racecourse on Sunday, 27 October.

The brilliant filly faces no easy task though in a field of 16 that boasts many other Grade 1 winners. Though none have come near Almond Eye’s haul of five G1 victories, any number of contenders have a chance to turn the tables on the shoo-in favourite.

The daughter of sprint champion Lord Kanaloa races for the first time in nearly five months, returning from her unfortunate but admirable third-place in the G1 Yasuda Kinen over a mile, where interference at the start foiled her bid to match her sire’s six-straight top-level victories.

Christophe Lemaire rode Almond Eye in track work on 17 October and 23 October. Working in a trio on Wednesday, Almond Eye clocked 65.4s over 1000m with a 12.2s final furlong over a fast wood-chip track and just a touch of the whip in the final stride. Lemaire put her at “80 percent,” saying she’d make up the difference in the race. “She’s coming from five months off and it takes a while to get her up to peak, but I think she’ll win this week. Almond Eye is the best horse in Japan,” Lemaire said.

The Katsuhiko Sumii-trained Saturnalia, a three-year-old also by Lord Kanaloa, is seen as the horse most likely to steal the 150 million yen winner’s share from Almond Eye. Currently with five wins from six starts, Saturnalia aced the G1 Hopeful Stakes as a two-year-old, then claimed the classic Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) this spring, both over 2000 metres. A versatile runner, Saturnalia comes to the Tenno Sho Autumn gate with a winning prep in the G2 Kobe Shimbun Hai (2400m) on 22 September and will be paired with Christophe Soumillon.

On Wednesday, Soumillon rode Saturnalia for the first time and was impressed. “Of all the horses I’ve ridden, he is especially good.” Clocking 82.3s on the woodchip flat course over 1200m and wrapping up with a crisp 11.7s last furlong, Soumillon said, “It wasn’t me telling him what to do. He did it all by himself. He’s very easy to ride and very confident and relaxed. He’s in perfect shape.”

The Tokyo 2000 metres is seen as an especially difficult course as there are less than 150 metres to the first turn. “I’d like to see a draw somewhere from one to eight,” Soumillon said. The other number in question is age and whether Saturnalia can become only the third three-year-old in modern times to win the autumn version of the Tenno Sho.

Expected to be close on their heels at the betting windows is Wagnerian, winner of last year’s G1 Japanese Derby. With five wins and all but two of his nine starts in the top three, Wagnerian started the year with a third in the G1 Osaka Hai over 2000 metres at Hanshin, and last time out lost both front shoes and still managed to finish fourth in the G2 Sapporo Kinen (2000m) on 18 August. “He has matured and is very eager to run. His strong point is being able to run well for a long distance,” big race jockey Yuichi Fukunaga said.

All systems look go for the expected top picks and the rest of the field. Danon Premium, who was seriously affected by the jostling at the break of the Yasuda Kinen, is out for revenge.

Aerolithe hopes to take the sting off her two seconds in a row in the Yasuda Kinen and last out in the G2 Mainichi Okan (1800m) but may struggle to make the distance.

Suave Richard is still in the running despite not having won since the 2018 G1 Osaka Hai and may surprise with new partner Norihiro Yokoyama, who won the race in 2009.

Trainer Kazuo Fujisawa is chasing his seventh win in the Tenno Sho Autumn and is fielding two hopefuls – Run For The Roses and Go For The Summit.

Fellow trainer Yasuo Tomomichi ups him by one with two more entries in addition to Wagnerian — 2016 Derby winner Makahiki and the four-year-old You Can Smile, who made the winner’s circle in the G3 Niigata Kinen (2000m) on 1 September.

Heavy rain is expected in Tokyo on Friday, but only cloudy skies are predicted for the weekend, which means a fast track is likely on race day.

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Kawada wins World All-Star Jockeys, Teetan ranks joint third27 Aug 2019

Hong Kong representative Karis Teetan was unable to notch a win on the second and final day of the JRA World All-Star Jockeys series at Sapporo Racecourse, Japan today (Sunday, 25 August), but a creditable second in the third leg helped him finish joint third behind eventual winner Yuga Kawada.

Teetan had scored 31 points in Saturday’s two heats to sit joint-second at the half-way point. In the third leg over 1700m on dirt today, the Mauritian rider settled his mount Realist ahead of mid-field after a good jump from gate five. Turning to the homestraight Teetan moved to outside and his mount accelerated well. Race winner Suave Aramis, ridden by French star Mickaelle Michel, never looked under threat but Realist finished clear of other rivals to run second, beaten by two lengths.

That second left Teetan in second place ahead of the final leg, a turf race over 1800m. However, Teetan’s ride Jo Book Kommen could only finish ninth. In total, he amassed 53 points in the series to finish level with Michel. The victorious Kawada scored 70 points to take the overall title, thanks to his win atop Precious Blue in the final leg. Christophe Lemaire was runner-up with 58 points.

In the team contest, Team JRA took the plaudits with an overall tally of 246 points to Team World All-Stars 202 points.

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Win Bright shines for Japan in FWD QEII Cup30 Apr 2019

Win Bright conquered Sha Tin this afternoon (Sunday, 28 April), powering home in the HK$24 million FWD QEII Cup and lowering the 2000-metre track record.

The grey became the first horse to dip below 1m 59.00s, stopping the clock at 1m 58.81s as he earned a first top level win. Yoshihiro Hatakeyama’s five-year-old became the latest Japanese raider to make the QEII Cup honour roll, following Eishin Preston (2002 & 2003), Rulership (2012) and Neorealism (2017).

The first eight horses dipped below two minutes, just 14 months after Time Warp – 11th today after attempting to make all – became the first to break that mark.

“On Wednesday morning Win Bright galloped and clocked a fast time, so it was not unexpected that he could run a fast time today,” jockey Masami Matsuoka said of the 47/1 outsider.

The rider had not won a G1 since Meiner Kitz landed the Tenno Sho (Spring) all of 10 years ago. But he looked the part of a top-flight regular on his first ride at Sha Tin, cruising coolly along the rail in mid-pack, switching out in the straight and pushing his mount to victory with the vigour of a man ready to end that decade-long drought.

“This is the very best day!” he said. “He didn’t have good gate speed this time but we found a good spot and the horse travelled nicely and that helped him run very well to the finish.”

Win Bright drives to victory

Trainer Hatakeyama – like Matsuoka and the Stay Gold entire’s owner, Win Racing Club – was competing in Hong Kong for the first time. The handler set his sights firmly on this race after Win Bright’s defeat of five G1 winners in the G2 Nakayama Kinen in February.

“He had won at Group 2 and Group 3 level but had always been beaten in Group 1 races, but his winning form from his two starts this season made me think that he was developing and improving,” he said.

“I was quite sure that he would be competitive at the top level. I couldn’t be confident that he would win, of course, but I did think he would be very competitive.”

Hatakeyama believes his charge benefitted from a spell between his last run and today’s victory. Win Bright had looked fresh and eager for action during track work this week.

“Last year, after the Nakayama Kimpai, he went to the Osaka Hai but he hadn’t had a break from the end of the previous season,” the trainer said. “This year, we skipped the Osaka Hai and then set this as our target. That meant that we sent him to the pre-training farm for a rest before this race and that was a very good routine for him. That freshness helped him.

“My only concern was the humid, hot weather in Hong Kong,” he continued, mopping his brow, “but he had done regular routine trackwork, nothing special and things went well throughout the week.”

“I hope he will gain more power and develop and we would love to come back in December for the Hong Kong Cup.”

Win Bright drove past last year’s winner Pakistan Star with 70 metres to race and had momentum enough to hold Hong Kong’s star stayer Exultant by three quarters of a length. The Tony Cruz-trained gelding edged third-place Lys Gracieux by a short-head, the pair having been split by a neck when first and second in December’s G1 Hong Kong Vase.”

“It wasn’t a perfect race and Zac (Purton) said if he’d had an inside draw it might have been a different story, but he’s run a very good race. I knew the Japanese were the ones to beat, they love coming here,” Cruz said.

Oisin Murphy flew in to partner Lys Gracieux and the Irishman was delighted with the five-year-old.

“I’m thrilled with her, I was very happy during the race and I thought I had a good run off the back of Dark Dream, when I switched out in the straight I thought she might be good enough to win,” he said.

“Fair play to the other Japanese horse, Matsuoka saved ground the whole way and the horse was too good on the day. Hopefully one day she’ll get an elusive win here, but what a tough and consistent mare!”

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Deirdre forms a new bond as Viddora steps into Vivlos’ shoes24 Apr 2019

Talented mares Deirdre and Viddora may hail from different hemispheres, let alone countries or stables, but they have become close companions as the FWD Champions Day hopefuls travelled together from Dubai and had the Sha Tin quarantine stables to themselves for a week after their arrival.

This has benefited both horses but been especially important for G1 FWD QEII Cup (2000m) contender Deirdre according to Seiko Hashida, daughter of trainer Mitsuru Hashida, who is part of the team supervising the mare’s preparation here in Hong Kong – as she did in Dubai.

“It’s like she (Deirdre) has a big sister here and that’s really helped in keeping her settled,” Hashida said, referring to Viddora, the Lloyd Kennewell trained six-year-old who is aimed at the Chairman’s Sprint Prize.

“Deirdre has always had Vivlos for company when she’s raced away from Japan but Vivlos was retired after Dubai so she needed a new friend. We miss Vivlos but it’s worked out well now. Two V’s, Vivlos and now Viddora,” she said.

The five-year-old daughter of Harbinger is preparing for her fourth international run. She finished fourth to Almond Eye in the recent G1 Dubai Turf and was third to Benbatl in that race in 2018. Vivlos, also a mare, was second on each occasion after winning the 1800 metres Meydan feature in 2017.

Deirdre, of course, also travelled to Hong Kong last December and ran an excellent second behind Glorious Forever in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m). Vivlos too made that trip and also had to be content with second prize – behind Beauty Generation in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile.

Deirdre is a seven-time winner in Japan with her best performance coming in the 2017 G1 Shuka Sho (2000m) when she denied fellow FWD QEII Cup entrant Lys Gracieux (who was runner-up to Exultant in last year’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase).

This will be the Hashida stable’s first Champion’s Day runner after having had seven runners at Hong Kong’s December features, which date back to 1997 when Silence Suzuka finished fifth to Val’s Prince in the then G2 Hong Kong International Cup.

Deirdre bids to record the stable’s first winner in Hong Kong and Seiko Hashida reports that the mare has done well after she galloped very strongly on the turf last Friday.

“She’s in very good condition. She’s a good traveller so that’s not a problem with her and she arrived here very well in herself. No problem with eating and drinking since she got here and she worked well this morning (Friday),” she said.

“We just hope she can do her best, run well and come back safe. My father’s coming on Tuesday which is earlier than usual so he will take over then,” she said.

Seven horses have previously won one of the three Champions day feature races after competing in Dubai on World Cup night. They were Fairy King Prawn, Xtension, Presvis, Archipenko, Variety Club, Bullish Luck and Silvano.

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Grand slam for Purton as Time Warp takes LONGINES Hong Kong Cup11 Dec 2017

By Scott Burton

On a day when plenty of the major prizes went the way of horses ridden on the speed, Time Warp and Zac Purton strolled away with the biggest one of all, the HK$25m G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m), easily holding Werther for a two and a quarter length success, with Neorealism leading home a Japanese trio for the minor money.

Purton was completing his grand slam of all four LONGINES Hong Kong International Races and when asked if he saw another horse, he joked: “A couple behind the gates and then pulling up but I don’t know where they were in between.”

Tony Cruz was adding to the two LONGINES Hong Kong Cup wins of California Memory in 2011 and 2012 and must have been delighted as Time Warp coasted along the Sha Tin back straight under minimal pressure from Smart Layer and Neorealism.

Turning for home, Werther emerged from the chasing pack but by then Purton had let Time Warp engage overdrive and last year’s Hong Kong Horse of the Year was never closer than at the line.

“He has got a high cruising speed and he can kick off that,” said Purton of Time Warp. “When nothing attacks him, you can see how good he is.”

Purton revealed that his confidence in Time Warp – whose three previous attempts in Group company had yielded a third and two seconds – had only increased after going through the race with Cruz.

“I couldn’t see much speed on paper before the race so, unless anyone did anything differently, I thought I might be able to get my way in front,” said Purton. “I had a very easy time and that was key to the result. Tony has a great deal of confidence in his horse and he rang me this morning specifically to talk about this one so I thought he must have been pretty keen on him.”

Purton’s LONGINES International Races collection started with Ambitious Dragon’s 2012 win in the Mile, continued with Dominant’s Vase in 2013 and was three-quarters complete by the time Aerovelocity took the first of his two Sprint successes in 2014.

“The jigsaw is complete so I am pretty happy about that,” he said.

Purton had been a slightly peripheral figure during the three earlier LONGINES Hong Kong International Races, with Gold Mount’s fifth-placed effort in the Vase his best return.

But when it mattered most he combined perfectly with Time Warp, following Cruz’s instructions to the letter.

“I told Zac to stay cool, ride the way I want this horse to be ridden,” said Cruz, the former big race jockey never far from the surface. “Zac did exactly what I wanted him to do. He just took him to the front and nobody was going to catch him. I said, ‘just wait for them to come, and when they push you, go. When they came, he just took off.”

Time Warp was cleverly campaigned by Newmarket training legend Sir Mark Prescott, who was at Sha Tin to witness the son of Archipenko’s international coming-of-age.

Prescott sent Time Warp for Listed wins in France at Saint-Cloud and the western provincial track at Craon.

Cruz knows the highways and byways of French racing better than most from his riding days.

“As you saw with the races he won in France, he loves to go to the front,” said Cruz. “Today I thought there were no speed horses and nothing was going to take us on. Even if they had done, they couldn’t do him for speed.”

His Hong Kong programme might well pick itself, with plenty of valuable 2000m prizes to be won going forward, while Cruz admitted Time Warp might be the perfect galloper to travel abroad.
The trainer said: “It’s no big surprise to me. The horse has been pushing me to run in this class of race and I believe there is a lot of horse in him. 2000 metres around this course is perfect for him. If he has it his way, nobody can beat him.

“I would love to go abroad with him. He is a very versatile type of horse: he can go on the soft; he can go on the firm; he can go on the dirt too. I am sure this horse can go places. He is a very sound horse and he is a healthy horse. I haven’t done his programme but I believe he can win elsewhere.”

Time Warp was turning around a neck defeat to Werther in the G2 BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Cup and John Moore was left to rue the way the race unfolded for his six-year-old son of Tavistock, who was never better than seventh running down the back.

“There was no speed up front and you couldn’t be where he was unfortunately,” said Moore. “I wanted him to be ridden closer but, whatever happened, he just wasn’t there in the spot I wanted. It meant he had too much ground to make up and would have had to run an impossible sectional to win. He hasn’t disgraced and we can now look down the road to the Stewards’ Cup, Gold Cup and perhaps Dubai.”

Neorealism held the late thrust of fellow Carrot Farm challenger Staphanos by half a length for third.

But the QEII Cup winner was unable to match the finishing burst of Time Warp, having failed to settle just behind the early pace for Joao Moreira.

“It was a fantastic run, said Moreira. “He was a bit keen early and it took me quite a while to get him to relax but he did a very good job to finish third.”

The six-strong European challenge failed to play a serious part in the finish, with Poet’s Word the best of the sextet when running on for sixth after being seven-wide turning into the straight.

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Hong Kong Race Info

Sat,23 Nov 2019 Shatin
R Post Time Race Name Class Distance Track No.of
7 15:20 16:20 THE CHEVALIER CUP (HANDICAP) C1 1600m TURF 14

Tip Coliseum Hong Kong

If you register at least 1 race per race day for a total of at least 8 races per month, then your daily and monthly rankings will be posted.

Tipster Ranking is updated the day after end of the monthly tournament.>>Let's check the rules!!

Rank Tipster Name Tipster
No.of Tips Highest Payout Win
Dream.limelight Dream.limelight
103 1,429R $9,292 49% 0
5cd08a475d 5cd08a475d
103 2,969R $10,450 39% 0
Ruburan Ruburan
102 2,097R $8,725 59% 0
Glory Glory
100 789R $22,290 36% 0
5f73de5c33 5f73de5c33
100 2,114R $38,220 22% 0

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Rank Tipster Name Deviation No.of Tips Hit Rate Return Rate Winnings Nice
yauchin yauchin
69.4 48R 20% 273% $81,752 3
kikujii kikujii
68.6 48R 31% 229% $59,411 2
d2c5e365a2 d2c5e365a2
68.0 36R 33% 221% $26,388 0
Mutsuki Mutsuki
67.6 36R 30% 211% $16,837 0
vaduz vaduz
65.5 48R 18% 171% $22,433 0

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