Dominant slips past in Hong Kong

HORSE RACING

Sha Tin's International Group 1 features opened with the Melbourne Cup heroes from years past being cast aside by local star Dominant, ridden by Hong Kong's leading jockey Zac Purton.

Purton made a vital move 800m from home when he raced around favourite The Fugue.

Tactically, he had gazumped William Buick on the hot-pot and Dominant swept to the lead at the distance. He was eased down late with The Fugue a closing, but well-held, ¾-length second.

Trainer John Gosden elected not to give The Fugue a serious hit-out at Sha Tin prior to the $2.19 million staying test.

It's a decision which furrowed brows pre-race and there was little doubt the mare was desperately unlucky.

Dunaden, the 2011 champion, performed admirably to finish third while Red Cadeaux, after enduring an impossible "three-wide passage", placed fourth.

Red Cadeaux, from barrier 11, never sighted the inside rail yet Zac Purton navigated a tighter passage [from the 14 gate] on the winner. Trainer Ed Dunlop may well have been lost for words when French hoop Gerald Mosse returned to scale.

Mount Athos never settled in the run. He was pushed forward early on and the Luca Cumani-trained gelding was a spent force when others were still in second gear.

He accounted for only three in the 14-strong herd in the run to the line. The time for the 2400m was a moderate 2min29.97sec.

Just one race later, Japanese superstar Lord Kanaloa cast aside a quality field in the final leg of the World Sprint Championship.

The reigning Sprint champion was forced to cover ground from gate 12 but there was little jockey Yasunari Iwata needed to be concerned about.

The ground off the fence was superior to the rail and, off a moderate tempo, the five-year-old was clear of his battling rivals at the 200m mark and raced away to score by an imposing five lengths.

Runner-up Solar Power (Johnny Murtagh) was also given room wide on the track and battled with minor placegetter Frederick Engles in the latter stages to secure the quinella position by a neck.

Sidelights to the commanding offering by Lord Kanaloa included the below-par performance of local hero Lucky Nine.

He was slow to begin from barrier five and never really settled for Brett Prebble.

Sadly, much post-race discussion surrounded the demise of English mare Jwala.

When racing "tight" and near the rails, she was badly checked with 75m to run and fell very heavily, sustaining life-ending injuries.

Jockey Steve Drowne was quickly stretchered to a waiting ambulance and ferried to hospital while veterinary staff attended to Jwala.

Jwala was to be retired following her sprint essay.

This was more than Shakespearean.

While Lord Kanaloa dominated as a short-priced elect in the International Sprint, French mare Moonlight Cloud failed to raise her supporters' hopes in the International Mile.

Trainer John Size produced Glorious Days - runner-up in the Mile 12 months earlier, behind Ambitious Dragon - first-up from a break, and the contest unfolded perfectly for the sparingly-raced six-year-old gelding.

Local hero Gold-Fun set up a hectic pace and though at full throttle for much of the final sprint, Glorious Days always had his measure - going clear late to score by just on one length.

Third-placed Packing Whiz was 1 ½ lengths in arrears of Gold-Fun in 1:33.60.

The winner continued a remarkable run for locally-trained horses in Group 1 Mile.

Australian raider Linton was never a factor, finishing the contest with well-regarded English mare Sky Lantern tailing off.

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