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Hong Kong Cup Results

Anthony Delpech and Vengence of Rain parade for the fans at Sha Tin after winning the Hong Kong Cup.
Date: 12/11/05

The richest race in the world this weekend was the $2.3 million (U.S.) Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup. Ten older horses went to post in this Group 1 event over 2000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles), including defending champion Alexander Goldrun, world traveler Epalo, and the lone American hope - Del Mar Derby winner Willow O Wisp. A crowd of 39,117 was on hand at Sha Tin Racecourse for the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Races, combining with off-track sites for a total handle of HK$849 million ($109 million U.S.) for the nine-race card.

Vengeance of Rain winning the 2005 Hong Kong Cup.
As expected, new rider Kieren Fallon took Willow O Wisp to the front right away, and while being stalked by Epalo just a length and a half behind, he set a relaxed pace of 28.00, 53.70, and 1:18.20 around the clubhouse turn and down the backstretch. Turning for home, Willow O Wisp began to drop from contention, as Epalo inherited the lead through a mile in 1:41.70. Epalo held the lead through to the 1/8 pole but Vengeance of Rain, who had raced in mid-pack early, switched leads and made a strong charge to grab the lead. With a 1/16 of a mile to go, Pride was closing with every stride down the center of the course, but Vengeance of Rain dug in for the last few strides to hold off Pride to prevail by a neck in a time of 2:04.50 over the "good to firm" course. It was 1 1/2 lengths back to Maraahel in third. Alexander Goldrun raced mid-pack throughout but failed to fire, finishing eighth, while Willow O Wisp faded badly after making the early running, finishing ninth.

The winner's circle celebration after the 2005 Hong Kong Cup.

Winning jockey Anthony Delpech said, "He is the best horse I've ever ridden and I don't think I'll ever ride one like him again. Horses like him come round just once in a blue moon. We found a nice position one off the fence and he was cantering at the final turn and he really fought hard. He has it all, class and courage."

Winning trainer David Ferraris said, "He's such a star isn't he? I think there is still more improvement in him, too. The owners have asked me not to race him in Dubai so we will target the Hong Kong Gold Cup, the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup and the Champions & Chater."

Presentation of the Hong Kong Cup trophy.

Christophe Soumillon aboard second place finisher Pride said, "She started well and we were in a good spot but the trainer wanted me to pull her back off the pace. If we stay where we were she wins for sure."

Richard Hills aboard third place finisher Maraahel said, "He ran a cracking race. That's his proper form. He was very brave and the older he gets the better he gets." Trainer Sir Michael Stoute added, "He ran up to his best and to the pound with Pride on Champion Stakes form."

On to the Hong Kong Vase, Mile, and Sprint results

Photos courtesy of Hong Kong Jockey Club.

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