Ramonti takes Hong Kong Cup honours

Champion miler Ramonti stepped up to 10 furlongs in style with victory in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin.

Champion miler Ramonti stepped up to 10 furlongs in style with victory in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin.

Godolphin’s five-year-old had to survive a stewards’ inquiry but there was no doubting his superiority over local favourite Viva Pataca.

Dettori had Ramonti beautifully placed in third as Royal Prince set the pace from Shadow Gate.

He drove the Saeed bin Suroor-trained entire to the head of the field a furlong out while Viva Pataca, ridden by Mick Kinane, could not find a way through at a crucial time.

Ramonti got first run and Viva Pataca could not make up the leeway.

Bin Suroor said: “He’s won three Group Ones in England this season and he’s a world champion miler. We thought we’d try a mile and a quarter towards the end of the season.

“Frankie gave him a brilliant ride and for the future we will look at mile and a quarter races.”

On the inquiry, bin Suroor added: “It looked to me there was no mistake from Frankie.”

Dettori added: “I said beforehand he’s probably one of the bravest horses I’ve ever ridden.

“He really tries hard for me. He was a bit keen but I knew it would take a really good one to get past him because he’s a fighter.”

Ramonti was providing Godolphin with handsome compensation after Creachadoir had been pipped by Good Ba Ba in a thrilling finish to the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile.

Both horses made their move at the same time after Kongo Rikishio had set just a steady pace.

Dettori came with a perfectly-timed run on Creachadoir but he just could not get past Good Ba Ba, ridden by Olivier Doleuze.

The five-year-old, trained by German-born Andreas Schutz, who is in his second season in Hong Kong, got the verdict by a short head.

Darjina, trained in France by Alain de Royer-Dupre, was third with Floral Pegasus fourth.

Schutz said: “This was the main target of the season, but we’ll have to think about where he goes next. We won’t take him to Europe.

“He’s certainly the best miler I’ve ever trained and I’ve had some good milers.”

Doleuze added: “He is really brave, he has a big heart and he always gives you everything.”

Godolphin’s racing manager Simon Crisford said: “Creachadoir will be a lovely horse for next year and we might return here for the Champions Mile.

“He ran his race and the wide draw made no difference today. He has run a fantastic race.”

Aidan O’Brien, whose Excellent Art failed to fire, said: “You only come and hope, we’re delighted to be invited and delighted to be here.

“He didn’t owe us anything and he had been unlucky in three Group Ones. They are only flesh and blood, they can’t be good every day.”

It was a disappointing day all round for the O’Brien team as Dylan Thomas failed to end his career on a high when well beaten behind Doctor Dino in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase.

The Arc de Triomphe winner was held up towards the rear by Johnny Murtagh and lost any chance when he stumbled after being hampered early in the straight.

Meanwhile Olivier Peslier brought Doctor Dino, trained in France, by Richard Gibson, to hit the front close home to win by a length and a half from German challenger Quijano.

Another German horse, Bussoni, was third with Arch Rebel running a tremendous race in fourth for Irish trainer Noel Meade and jockey Fran Berry.

O’Brien explained the problems he had with Dylan Thomas.

“To be fair to Dylan Thomas for him to turn up at all was a big if,” said the Irish trainer.

“He got caught in quarantine in Japan for a long time and he looked a horse ready to go into training than go out of training. Being realistic and honest, he was way overweight.

“We couldn’t do anything about it, we put as much work into him as we could and the lads did a good job keeping him sound and right. We were delighted to be invited here.

“It’s important that he’s safe. It didn’t really matter the race we’ve had.”

A delighted Gibson said: “We campaigned him sparingly this year to be competitive in these races.

“To beat the very good horses you’ve got to have the edge and the edge is by running just a few races a year and it’s great that everything went to plan.”

Sacred Kingdom showed an electrifying burst of speed to win the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint.

The four-year-old, trained by Ricky Yiu, was nearer last than first in the early stages of the six-furlong dash but powered into contention once the field straightened up.

Gerald Mosse weaved his way through the field on Sacred Kingdom who led inside the final furlong and stretched clear of the opposition.

Last year’s winner Absolute Champion was second with Royal Delight third.

French raider Marchand d’Or fared best of the Europeans in sixth spot while British challengers Benbaun, who was prominent early, and Desert Lord were unable to make an impression at the business end.

Yiu said: “It was a terrific performance, the jockey really knows him. He gets him relaxed and really runs for him.

“At this stage after winning a Group One race it’s definitely something to think about taking him abroad. We need to sit down with the owners and talk about it.”

Benbaun’s rider Pat Smullen said: “He was very flat off the break but at the end of the day it’s just one of those runs at the end of the year.

“He’s had a hard race and it was very hard to keep him going all year.”

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