Viva Pataca Wins Hong Kong's QEII Cup Again

Stablemate Able One wins Champions Mile to give trainer John Moore a rare double.

(from Hong Kong Jockey Club releases)

Viva Pataca became the highest money earner in the history of Hong Kong racing when he scored a stunning win in the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup (HK-I) at Sha Tin April 25.

Earlier, trainer John Moore won the Champions Mile (HK-I) with Able One, giving him a rare double with Viva Pataca. Remarkably, the same two horses completed the double in 2007. Able Won became the first horse to qualify for this year’s $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge series.

The win was the 18th for the 8-year-old Viva Pataca and his 13th victory in Hong Kong. Viva Pataca's eighth group I win was also his second in the APQE II Cup and took his total prize-money earnings to HK$80,232,500. He eclipsed the HK$75,410,500 mark set by 2005 APQEII cup winner Vengeance Of Rain.

The performances of Hong Kong's stars was a further bonus on a day which saw turnover climb to HK$1.085 billion, significant rise on HK$912 million in 2009.

Viva Pataca was placed in fourth in the early going by jockey Weichong Marwing while in touch with the Japanese leader Never Bouchon, who crawled through the first 1,200 meters in 1:18.2. He loomed up to the leaders straightening and ran home the last 400 meters in :22.19, giving the backmarkers no chance of overhauling him.

Lizard's Desire and Super Satin, coming from midfield, followed for second and third, finishing just ahead of the front-runner Never Bouchon.

It was Marwing's second QEII Cup win after his success in 2006 aboard Irridescence. "It's been a great training feat from John and his stable to produce this horse to win this race again after a gap of three years," he said.

Moore was delighted that the horse he describes as his favorite was able to take another major prize and his place in history.

"He has broken the Hong Kong prize-money record now and it means more that this horse has done it because he has been the greatest servant a trainer could ever ask for and there will always be a soft spot for him," he said.

Luca Cumani conceded the race just wasn't run to suit the defending champion Presvis, who finished fifth.

"He just couldn't come from last the way the race was run. But he motored to the line and would have won in another 100 yards.

"Unfortunately that's the way it is. You can't change tactics with him as he just doesn't begin well enough and if you dig him up early he's going to race too keenly. He's always going to be hostage to the pace," Cumani said.

The 7-year-old New Zealand-bred Able One added a second Champions Mile for Moore, becoming the first dual winner of the Champion's Mile since Bullish Luck in 2006. Able One overcame a variety of stress fractures to return to the Sha Tin winner's enclosure.

Able One may be better now than he was when winning under Mick Kinane in 2007.

"It seems he just gets better with age," remarked owner Dr. Cornel Li Fook-kwan.

Able One traveled comfortably in fourth, then kicked early in the straight and held all opposition at bay. Fellowship gave closest chase but the 7-year-old flattened out in the last 100 meters. Able One held him off by a fairly comfortable three-quarters of a length.

"He has hit a purple patch of form. His last run was very good, and I felt he was fitter today than when he last won. The race panned out exactly as we wanted, and he ran a great time again," Moore said.

"He always seems to race best at this time of year," Moore said. "He has hairline fractures in different areas but this season he has been a very sound horse." 

Four-year-old Beauty Flash ran on well for third.

Good Ba Ba, the favored three-time Hong Kong Mile winner, finished eighth, beaten by 3 3/4 lengths. The time for the one-turn, right-handed mile was 1:33.66.