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Good Ba Ba and jockey Olivier Doleuze parade after winning the Mile.
The HK$16 million (about $2 million US) Hong Kong Mile (G1) is the third stakes event of the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin on Sunday. This year's running saw a field of thirteen older horses go 1600 meters (about 1 mile) around one turn of the turf course at Sha Tin Racecourse. Local hope Good Ba Ba, winner of the Mile Trial, the major local prep for this race, was sent off as the lukewarm 3-1 favorite over Coolmore entrant and Breeders' Cup Mile runner-up Excellent Art at 7-2. French invader and 3-year-old filly Darjina was the 4-1 third choice in this contentious field, winner of the French 1000 Guineas and the Prix de Moulin de Longchamp.
Down the stretch with Good Ba Ba on the outside and Creachadoir on the rail fighting it out.
Japanese hope and 7-1 shot Kongo Rikishio went to the lead soon after the start and he set fractions of 25.20, 48.30, and 1:11.90 while being stalked by 10-1 Down Town the whole way. 60-1 outsider The Duke also stayed in contention for the first 3/4 mile. At the top of the stretch, 8-1 Floral Pegasus, who had stalked the pace in fourth the whole way, put in his rally and gained the lead at the 1/8 pole. However, favorite Good Ba Ba, who was well back early under jockey Olivier Doleuze, ran with him and had more left in the tank. Good Ba Ba easily passed him with a furlong to go but was all out in the final strides to hold off the late charge of 18-1 Creachadoir to win by a head in 1:34.50 over the good turf course. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to late-running Darjina in third.
Good Ba Ba on the outside wins
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 7 Good Ba Ba Doleuze 9.50 5.20 4.90 11 Creachadoir Dettori 18.00 7.50 13 Darjina Soumillon 5.00 $2 Exacta 7-11 258.50 $2 Trifecta 7-11-13 1,160.20 $1 Superfecta 7-11-13-6 10,316.25 Winning Time: 1:34.50 * Note that these are the payoffs for the North American pool.Results Chart from HKJC
Race Replay from HKJC
Left: Good Ba Ba heads for the winner's circle with his sash on.
Right: Good Ba Ba in the winner's circle. His jockey Olivier Doleuze said, "We had a good gate in the middle and I was able to ride him as quietly as I like to. The thing with him is not to hit the front too soon. He has such great acceleration and he gives you everything in the finish just like he did there. He's probably the best miler I have ever ridden."
Trophy presentation ceremony for the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile. His trainer Andreas Schutz said, "He has the best turn of foot of a horse I have ever trained. He was trained for this race and it's great to bring it off. He was a very important horse for me in my first season last year and this win is very important for my future as a trainer here. We might think about sending him for the Breeders' Cup next year. It was a brilliant ride from Olivier and I want to thank my team for all their hard work."
Left: Good Ba Ba returns after winning the race.
Right: Good Ba Ba in the paddock before the race.
Second place finisher Creachadoir heads out after the post parade. His jockey Frankie Dettori said, "It's only the second time I have ridden the horse, and he ran his heart out, but we just missed out. He'll be a nice horse for next year."
Simon Crisford, racing manager for owner Godolphin Racing said, "He has run his race and there are no excuses. We are delighted with the run and he will be a lovely horse for next year. We may come back here for the Champions Mile next April."
Third place finisher Darjina returns after the race. Her jockey Christophe Soumillon said, "I wish I could have started her run a little sooner but we had to wait and when she got out she took a little time to get balanced, but then ran on really well."
Her owner Princess Zahra Aga Khan said, "She was just getting into her run when she was squeezed up and she didn't need that because it takes her a little while to get balanced. She stays in training next year and we may try her over longer distances."
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