In an effort remarkably similar to last year, Bullish Luck registered a track-equaling record run while defeating stablemate Silent Witness in the US$1 million Champions Mile (HK-I), the third leg of the Asian Mile Challenge, at Sha Tin on Sunday. Last year the Tony Cruz-trained Bullish Luck started this race a distant second in the public's affections behind favorite Silent Witness, but the son of Royal Academy won by a short-head. With Silent Witness once again favored Sunday, Bullish Luck started a shade over 11/1 and exited the same gate 2 that he won from in 2005 to settle behind a strong tempo that would enable him to dash over the top of his rivals in the homestretch. The time of 1:33.7 matched Sha Tin's track mark for the mile -- incredibly, an identical time to last year's triumph.Bullish Luck scored by 1 1/2 lengths from Danacourt with Joyful Winner a length further back in third."We're definitely going to Japan again after this," said Cruz of the US$1.86m Yasuda Kinen (Jpn-I) in Tokyo on June 4 where victory will yield US$1 million bonus for two Challenge wins. "He ran a good fourth there last year after running into trouble in the home straight and having to ease up and run on again. We'd be hopeful of an even better run this year." Since his victory in this race a year ago, a win that confirmed his status as Hong Kong's champion miler last season, Bullish Luck had raced eight times for just two minor placings, leading to his long odds on Sunday.
Winning jockey Brett Prebble was effusive. "He's still got that same acceleration. I got a strong cart into the race there and I gave him just one click at the top of the straight and it felt like he had the race settled in one stride," he said. Danacourt looked to have the race pocketed when he swept to the front from Silent Witness with over a furlong to race. Joyful Winner, bidding for a record seventh victory of the season, was settled in rear and could not make up the ground after ceding first run to Bullish Luck. After making the running, Silent Witness capitulated with more than 200 meters to race on a track favoring speed. "There has to be something amiss with him," Cruz said.