Australia's sole representative Mummify denied the proven international performer Phoenix Reach Sunday night to win the $1.8 million Singapore Airlines International Cup (Sng-I) in a thrilling finish. American challenger Star Over The Bay broke down during the race and was euthanized.The 7-year-old gelding Star Over The Bay,a three-time grades stakes winner last year, was found to have ruptured a sesamoid in his right forelegMummify, who provided trainer Lee Freedman with his 100th group I win in Australia, gave the conditioner his first international group I victory at Kranji Racecourse on a yielding turf. Mummify relished the crackling pace set by last year's winner Epalo and proved just too strong for Phoenix Reach, who'd won the Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I) in March."The horse's recent form had not been that strong and it would have been easy not to come but we knew he was up to it if he ran to his best," said training partner Anthony Freedman. Mummify won by three-quarters of a length from the Andrew Balding trained Phoenix Reach with Irish filly Alexander Goldrun 2 3/4 lengths further back in third place. If ever there was a genuinely contested race at the highest level then this was it. Epalo broke well from gate three to lead but quickly had Star Over The Bay sitting at his girth.However, Star Over The Bay broke down at the half way point which left Epalo with a decisive break. But after setting the quick pace for 1,600 meters of the 2,000-meter event, the defending champion had little left to give as first Phoenix Reach, then Mummify and finally the filly Alexander Goldrun mounted their challenges on straightening.Phoenix Reach looked set to claim a clear lead in the World Racing Championship as he took a decided advantage at the 200 meters under the urgings of Martin Dwyer.However leading Australian jockey Danny Nikolic, aboard Mummify, made his challenge soon after. He applauded the horse's courage."He really dug deep in the last 100 meters. It was such a gutsy effort as Phoenix Reach certainly wasn't laying down," Nikolic said. Nikolic said he sensed victory was a very real possibility some distance from home. "It was a true run race which suited us and I spent no petrol in the run. When it mattered he had something to give and this is just great because I know all the owners and this horse has been special to me.".Mummify, whose previous major success was the 2003 Caulfield Cup (Aus-I), now boasts 8 wins from his 44 starts.Phoenix Reach maintained his outstanding international record while the filly Alexander Goldrun was brave given that she made her run on the fence while first and second were in the better ground in the middle of the track. The internationals finished in the first five placings with Mike De Kock's pair Right Approach and Excalibur finishing fourth and fifth respectively. The first of the 13-leg series, Hong Kong's Queen Elizabeth II Cup (HK-I) in April was won by New Zealand's Vengeance of Rain. Each win carries 12 points while the second and third placed horses receive six and four points respectively.
The series now shifts to Newbury, England for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (Eng-I) in July before the Arlington Million (gr. IT) in the United States in August.
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