Bullish Luck conjures more Champions Mile glory
7 May 2006
More than a hint of deja-vu surrounded the outcome to the US$1m Champions Mile, the third leg of the Asian Mile Challenge, at Sha Tin on Sunday with Bullish Luck recording a second successive victory.
Last year the Tony Cruz-trained Bullish Luck started this race a distant second in the public's affections behind stable companion and favourite, Silent Witness, but still the son of Royal Academy won by a short-head.
With Silent Witness once again favourite, Bullish Luck started a shade over 11/1 and exited the same gate two that he won from in 2005 to settle behind a strong tempo that would enable him to dash over the top of his rivals in the homestretch.
This all happened in a Sha Tin Gr.1 mile-equalling time of 1 min 33.7 seconds - incredibly, an identical time to last year's triumph.
History has a habit of repeating itself, but seldom does it occur right down to the millisecond.
Bullish Luck scored by one-and-a-half-lengths from the gallant Danacourt with Joyful Winner a length further back in third.
"We're definitely going to Japan again after this," said Cruz of the US$1.86m Yasuda Kinen in Tokyo on June 4 where victory will yield US$1 million bonus for two Challenge wins.
"He ran a good fourth there last year after running into trouble in the home straight and having to ease up and run on again. We'd be hopeful of an even better run this year."
Since his victory in this race a year ago, a win that confirmed his status as Hong Kong's Champion Miler last season, Bullish Luck had appeared to go off the boil in the interim, racing eight times for just two minor placings.
"He's been finding races where he hasn't had the ground to suit or where they haven't gone quick enough for him in front. Brett did the right thing today by pulling him out wide into the clear and letting him kick. He's still our best miler on that run today," Cruz said.
Winning jockey Brett Prebble was just as effusive. "He's still got that same acceleration. I got a strong cart into the race there and I gave him just one click at the top of the straight and it felt like he had the race settled in one stride," he said.
Ample credit is also due to the performance of Danacourt, who for a moment looked to have the race pocketed when he swept to the front from Silent Witness with over a furlong to race.
Danacourt was backing up just a week after his first run in five months in last weekend's Hong Kong Macau Trophy. Joyful Winner, bidding for a record seventh victory of the season, was settled in rear and could not make up the ground after ceding first run to Bullish Luck.
Vanderlin and Seihali, from Britain and Dubai, ran fifth and sixth despite being tightened for room inside the final 100m. Niconero from Australia finished 12th.
Silent Witness made the running in today's race but capitulated with over 200m to race on a track favouring leaders. "There has to be something amiss with him," Cruz said.