GOOD Ba Ba created history at Sha Tin on Sunday when running out the dramatic winner of the HK$16 million Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile for an unprecedented third time in a row.

Given a super confident ride by Olivier Doleuze, Good Ba Ba produced his trademark finishing kick to run down Happy Zero, the young pretender to his crown, gaining a half length success with Fellowship back in third, and Egyptian Ra in fourth for a Hong Kong clean sweep.

Olivier Doleuze won on Good Ba Ba in 2007, while Christophe Soumillon was on board last year, before Doleuze regained the ride this time around.

Turning for home Darren Beadman sent Happy Zero for home and opened a lead that looked for a moment to be decisive as Fellowship and Zac Purton gave chase, while   the front running Egyptian Ra battled on gamely under Felix Coetzee.

But the roar of the Hong Kong crowd reached deafening proportions as Doleuze unleashed Good Ba Ba to cut down his rivals on the outside and gallop into Hong Kong history.

"Last year I was sorry to lose the ride so to be back on him again is like a dream. His preparation this season was similar to last year when Andreas [Schutz] trained him," Doleuze said.

"It looks like he might stay a bit longer now, now we can step him up in trip to maybe 2000m because it took him a little longer than normal to really get going from the top of the straight. I believed he could get there though. What a horse."

Trainer Derek Cruz trainer described the victory as the highlight of his career, “Without a doubt - it's awesome."

Cruz took over the training of Good Ba Ba before the start of the season at the behest of owner John Yuen Se-kit and opted to prep the seven-year-old graduate of the Hong Kong International Sale along the same route of the last two seasons.

"My job was to keep him happy. But the fact that he would make history if he won this race did make it harder and created pressure for me. But we've done it and it feels awesome."

Runner-up Happy Zero's rider Darren Beadman said he was delighted with his horse's performance but paid tribute to the history-making winner.

"He had his chance. I thought we had it at the 300m but Good Ba Ba came past me. He's an amazing horse to do what he has done."

WHAT THE TRAINERS & JOCKEYS SAID

1st - Good Ba Ba

Olivier Doleuze, Jockey:

"Last year I was sorry to lose the ride so to be back on him again is like a dream. His preparation this season was similar to last year when Andreas [Schutz] trained him. It looks like he might stay a bit longer now, now we can step him up in trip to maybe 2000m because it took him a little longer than normal to really get going from the top of the straight. I believed he could get there though. What a horse."

Derek Cruz, Trainer:

"It's the highlight of my career without a doubt. It's awesome. We planned the same two prep runs for this race and my job was to keep him happy. But the fact that he would make history if he won this race did make it harder and created pressure for me. But we've done it and it feels awesome."

2nd - Happy Zero

Darren Beadman, Jockey:

"He had his chance but the winner was too good. I thought we had it at the 300m but Good Ba Ba came past me."

3rd - Fellowship

Zac Purton, Jockey:

"He ran the race of his life. To nearly win this race at level weights, it has to be his best ever run. He was brilliant. We were just touched off."

4th - Egyptian Ra

Felix Coetzee, Jockey:

"It was a great run. We eventually got to the lead but got run down by three great horses who came past him on the outside and the track seems quicker out wider."

5th – Ferneley

Kieren Fallon, Jockey:

"He took a while to warm up. If I could have laid up closer he'd have nearly won. Did you see how he finished?"

6th - Confront

Ryan Moore, Jockey:

"He ran very well from his wide draw and he finished off well."

7th - Alexandros

Frankie Dettori, jockey:

"He ran okay but the mile around here is probably too quick for him. In the end he was outclassed."

8th - Able One

Brett Prebble, Jockey:

"He was a bit flat-footed when it mattered and without a turn of foot you're not going to win one of these."

9th – Sweet Hearth

Gerald Mosse, Jockey:

"It went well for us as we were behind the winner off the bend but we just could not follow him. She's been nervous all week."

10th - Gris De Gris

Thierry Thulliez, Jockey:

"We had a perfect trip but he's better on left handed tracks and on softer ground. It was a genuine Group 1 and he was not up to it."

11th - Sight Winner

Douglas Whyte, Jockey

"I think the track might have been a bit firm for him today. He didn't really let down when I felt like he might have."

12th - Duff

Fran Berry, Jockey:

"He missed the break but he is not up to this class over a mile. He's more of a seven-furlong horse at this level."

13th - Racing To Win

Hugh Bowman, Jockey:

"He travelled well through the run and I was happy to be sitting wide giving the track pattern but he was flat out turning for home and maybe his time has passed."

14th - Pressing

Neil Callan, jockey:

"Twice he has come out here and twice has disappointed. In the mornings he has been great, but at the races I don't know if it's the crowd or the atmosphere, but he doesn't perform."

 

VISION D'ETAT LIFTS CATHAY PACIFIC HONG KONG CUP FOR FRANCE

VISION D'Etat showed a blistering turn of foot to beat a top class field in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin on Sunday.

Vision D'Etat was giving his French trainer, Eric Libaud, a second Hong Kong International Races victory following his success in the 2002 Hong Kong Vase with Ange Gabriel.

Dramatically, however, there had been a scare over the four-year-old's participation just a day earlier.

A skin infection after he bumped himself in his box had left him slightly lame on Saturday, but Libaud knew his horse was back to his best when he saw him out on the all-weather this morning.

That was confirmed when the horses turned into the straight and Peslier was looking confident. They moved up menacingly to challenge and swept past the local odds-on favourite Collection.

Peslier was winning a record seventh international victory, one more than his fellow countryman, Gerald Mosse, who had scored earlier in the day on Daryakana in the CXHK Vase.

Peslier said: "It is always a good sign when this horse is lazy during his races as he was today. He was similar when winning at Royal Ascot. I didn't want to get to the lead too soon because I was worried he might try and stop in front. He kept fighting today."

Libaud said: "As for our next race, he will stay in training and we'll have to think about Dubai next."        

An amazed Darren Beadman, rider of the odds-on Collection, said: "Gosh, the winner was impressive. He came past me with his ears pricked but we have run right up to our best."

Connections of Presvis were not downcast in third. Both trainer Luca Cumani and jockey Kieren Fallon agreed that their Dubai-bound son of Sakhee would come on for the run.

"He's not there yet," said Fallon, while Cumani added: "He has needed this and will be better for it. We'll head to Dubai and decide which race to go for after the trials on the sand and grass."

WHAT THE JOCKEYS AND TRAINERS SAID

1st - Vision D'Etat

Olivier Peslier, jockey:

"He was bit lazy down the backstretch but he behaves like this when he is at his best, like at Royal Ascot when he won the Prince Of Wales's Stakes in June this year. But this is what he does when he is relaxed and when he is in good form. I didn't want to get to the lead too soon because I was worried he would try to stop but he kept fighting to the line today."

Eric Libaud, trainer:

"It's amazing because yesterday we thought he would not run as he had developed an infection to his off-hind fetlock. But we looked after him throughout the rest of the day and it improved. This morning he did a small canter on the all-weather and it was very reassuring to see him moving well so we decided to go ahead. The Club's vets did a terrific job and I have to thank them very much. As for our next race, he will stay in training and we'll have to think about Dubai next."

2nd – Collection

Darren Beadman, jockey:

"Gosh, the winner was impressive. He came past me with his ears pricked but we have run right up to our best."

3rd - Presvis

Kieren Fallon, jockey:

"He is not there yet but has run a good race and will come on for it. We are happy."

4th - Ashalanda

Gerald Mosse, jockey:

"She ran very well and she is very honest. She fought to the line. She is better at 12 furlongs and this was a great race."

5th – Eagle Mountain

Kevin Shea, jockey:

"We expected he would probably need this run again so up to a point you would say he ran well. I was happy and I think you can follow him from now on."

6th – Starlish

Anthony Crastus, jockey:

"He was outpaced going into the final bend yet he came back at them. We have to admit this was too much for him and needs the softer ground."

7th – Special Days

Craig Williams, jockey:

"He stayed on well but the ground was bit firm and under the circumstances he ran well against this class of horse."

8th - Mr Medici

Frankie Dettori, jockey:

"It was an honest run and he tried his best but I think an international Group 1 stretches him."

9th - Eyshal

Weichong Marwing, jockey:

"He was not up to this class."

10th - Queen Spumante

Hiroyasu Tanaka, jockey:

"She couldn't take the lead as she did in her last run in Japan. It was tough race and a softer track does not suit her but she toughed it out."

HONG KONG JOCKEY CLUB MEDIA RELEASE

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