Eishin Preston Repeat Winner of QE II Cup

Favored Japanese challenger Eishin Preston won the group I Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin on Sunday for the second year in a row.

Ridden by Yuichi Fukunaga, Eishin Preston raced in mid-pack before unleashing his winning run in the straight. Hong Kong Derby winner Elegant Fashion, second choice in the betting, finished strongly to be second, with the Germany-based Paolini in third place.

The QE II Cup is the first leg of the World Racing Series Championship.

The 3-2 favorite, Eishin Preston was fifth on the outside as the field reached the straight, made good headway to pass Paolini 100 yards from the wire while holding off Elegant Fashion by 1 3/4 lengths. Paolini was a neck back in third.

Paolini went to the lead at the top of the straight and briefly looked like the winner until Eishin Preston produced his rally.

River Dancer was a closing fourth, a neck behind Paollini.

"I am very happy to win today at such a hard time for Hong Kong," winning trainer Shuji Kitahashi commented.

Owner Toyomitsu Hirai told The Racing Post, "We would like to target the World Racing Series Championship and try to become the series champion, if we have the chance over the rest ofthe season.

"We were very disappointed that the Singapore International Airlines Cup had to be cancelled, but I am very hopeful that his final career start should be at the Hong Kong International races in December."