Hong Kong's River Dancer Takes QE II Cup

River Dancer, a 58-1 shot from Hong Kong, won the $1.79 million Queen Elizabeth II Cup (HK-I) on Sunday by three-quarters of a length.

Elegant Fashion, an Australian-bred, finished second and Scott's View of Britain was third before a crowd of 40,000 at Hong Kong's Sha Tin Racecourse in the first leg of the 13-race World Series Racing Championship.

Australia's John Size trains River Dancer, a 5-year-old Irish-bred bay gelding by Sadler's Wells–Darara (by Top Ville). South African jockey Glyn Schofield rode him. Hong Kong Jockey Club Chairman Ronald Arculli owns River Dancer, a group III winner formerly named Diaghilev.

Racing in mid-pack most of the way, River Dancer made a bid late, tackling Elegant Fashion and Scott's View after pacemaker Saturn tired with about 120 yards to go and winning in a full drive. Scott's View, who made a gradual forward move, stayed on well to miss second by a shoulder to Elegant Fashion.

The favorite, Lucky Owners of Hong Kong, was sixth in the 2,000-meter race. The 14-horse field included entries from Germany, South Africa and the United States.

Bowman's Crossing was fourth, followed by Right Approach (5th), Lucky Owners (6), Saturn (7), Visorhill (8), Blue Stitch (9), Bullish Luck (10), Ain't Here (11), Sarafan (12), Paolini (13) and Tiber (14). The final time was 2:01.4 on good to firm going.

The Queen Elizabeth II Cup was first held in 1975 when Hong Kong was under British rule. Hong Kong reverted to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

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