Dan Excel, Lucky Nine Post Singapore Scores
Dan Excel turned the tables on stablemate and last year's winner Military Attack and won the Singapore Airlines International Cup (Sin-I) in record time May 18 at Kranji Racecourse.
The race was one of two top-level international events on the card. The other, the KrisFlyer International Sprint (Sin-I), was won by Lucky Nine. Both winners are based in Hong Kong.
Trainer John Moore celebrated consecutive wins as Dan Excel bested Smoking Sun by 1 3/4 lengths in the SIA Cup, with Hong Kong Horse of the Year and overwhelming favorite Military Attack checking in third, 1 1/2 lengths farther back.
Dan Excel hugged the rail in second and Military Attack raced in sixth as Japan-based Tokei Halo opened a commanding lead down the backstretch. The winner quickened smartly in the straight on the cue from jockey Tommy Berry and secured the victory as Tokei Halo faded to fourth.
Dan Excel finished in 1:59.07 for the 2,000-meter (about 1 1/4-mile) contest on good turf. The time shaved .15 off Gloria De Campeao's record time of 1:59.22 set in the 2009 edition of the race.
After racing at the back of the 12-horse field, French group II winner Smoking Sun was angled four wide and uncoiled a torrid rally a quarter-mile out for Stephane Pasquier to take second.
Under urging from Joao Moreira, Military Attack gained ground but lost some momentum when bumped by Limario in the straight and finished third.
Moore said post positions dictated the race's outcome between his stablemates.
"Dan Excel was always the underdog, the bridesmaid, but he drew the right gate. He had barrier number 1, and he just enjoyed a ground-saving run on the rails throughout," Moore said of the 6-year-old son of Shamardal, a former Irish classic starter who won the 2013 Champions' Mile (HK-I) at Sha Tin
"Military Attack had to be used very early to get across from his wide draw (the 10 hole) and he was not the same at the finish.
"Had he drawn a gate from 1 to 3, I think he would have finished a lot closer. It was still a great run considering he was drawn wide and they broke the record."
Graded stakes-placed Si Sage, based in Southern California with Darrell Vienna, was never a factor in a sixth-place finish after racing in midfield with David Flores aboard.
Formerly raced in Ireland under the name Dunboyne Express, Dan Excel has a 6-10-3 record from 36 career starts. His resume includes fifth-place finishes in the 2011 Irish Derby (Ire-I) and Abu Dhabi Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) for previous owner and breeder John Connaughton. He is out of the Polish Precedent mare Love Excelling, a half sister to 2000 Vodafone Epsom Oaks (Eng-I) winner Love Divine, the dam of Irish classic winner Sixties Icon. He is campaigned by David Philip Boehm.
Hong Kong champion sprinter Lucky Nine took the KrisFlyer International Sprint for an unprecedented second straight year.
The 7-year-old son of Dubawi, ridden by Brett Prebble for Caspar Fownes, was settled just off the early pace of Captain Obvious and was switched to the outside for his rally. He won by two lengths from Emperor Max, with Zac Spirit 2 1/4 lengths back in third.
Lucky Nine covered 1,200 meters (about six furlongs) in 1:08.15. He has a 14-9-5 record from 41 career starts, including last year's three-length victory in the race for Dr. Chang Fuk To and Maria Chang Lee Ming Shum.
Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) winner and favorite Sterling City ran evenly to finish fifth.
Lucky Nine was bred in Ireland by Darley out of the winning Green Desert mare Birjand.
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