Dominant wins the Hong Kong Vase.
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Dominant wins the Hong Kong Vase.
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Masakazu Takahashi

Dominant Upsets The Fugue in Hong Kong Vase

Local horse posts surprising win over international cast in 2,400-meter event Dec. 8.

In the first of four group I turf races Dec. 8 at Sha Tin Racecourse, Dominant posted a surprising win for the locals, taking the Longines Hong Kong Vase (HK-I) with a big move at the top of the stretch, then holding off The Fugue by three-quarters of a length at the end.

Two veteran international campaignersDunaden and Red Cadeauxfinished third and fourth in the 2,400-meter (about 1 1/2-mile) race, the longest of the day on the Hong Kong International races card. Hong Kong horses seldom run that far and the home team had won only once in 19 previous editions of the race. The Vase was won last year by Red Cadeaux and in 2011 by Dunaden.

Dominant, a 5-year-old son of Cacique bred in Ireland by Newhall Ltd., raced at the back of the field until Hong Kong's current leading rider, Zac Purton, pushed the button at the top of the lane. Dominant responded quickly and briefly trapped The Fugue, who had to swing widest of all to find running room.

Once in full stride, Dominant quickly found the lead and a furious charge by The Fugue fell short. It was her second straight runner-up showing in a top-level race, following her loss to Magician  in the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park Nov. 2.

Purton said he felt Dominant was running well throughout the race and took his chance when he saw it.

"Obviously, I got there (the lead) a little soon. But I thought we'd hang on," he said.

Dominant had been anything but dominant locally. His last two wins came in the last two runnings of the Queen Mother Memorial in June of 2012 and May of this year. He went to the post Sunday at odds of 12-1 and improved his record to five wins in 20 starts.

Appropriately, Dominant is trained by John Moore, who has been dominant in Hong Kong for many years, and owned by a syndicate which he heads.