Viva Pataca crowned king of the stayers in Champions & Chater Cup

28 May 2006

Viva Pataca moved to the front of the queue for Horse of the Year honours with a stylish win in the Hong Kong Champions & Chater Cup (Gr.1-2400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.

While victory in Hong Kong's staying championship made Viva Pataca the first horse to win more than a solitary Group One this season, the outcome of next weekend's Yasuda Kinen in Tokyo, where three HK runners are engaged, may yet influence which horse is named Horse of the Year.

Whether or not Viva Pataca is named as the top of the class for 2005/06, today's victory left no doubt that he is the brightest new star of Hong Kong racing.

Jockey Mick Kinane, flown in from Ireland specifically for the ride, patiently handled Viva Pataca towards the rear of a nine-runner field and switched off heels at the top of the homestretch to deliver his challenge.

Super Kid made the first winning move, but Viva Pataca tracked him to lead with 150 metres to race. Once given three sharp left-handers by Kinane, the Marju four-year-old always looked like repelling the late challenges from Best Gift on his inside and Super Combed out wider and scored by three-quarters of a length.

"He's a pretty classy horse and I think he'll be much better again next year. He's an exciting horse for Hong Kong to have for the future, that's for sure," Kinane remarked.

"I think a mile and two furlongs would be his best distance - the extra two furlongs on the soft ground today might have sapped his energy just a little bit. His class got him through in the end," he added.

Viva Pataca became the second successive horse to land the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby and Champions & Chater double - Vengeance Of Rain did it last year - and trainer John Moore hopes to emulate the same horse by winning the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup in December.

Represented by not just Viva Pataca, but also Best Gift and Super Kid, Moore was heavily favoured to win a first Champions & Chater since he prepared both Makarpura Star and Survey King to dead-heat in this race in 1995.

He trained the first two past the post again and today's win in the 14th and final Group One race of the season was also Moore's sixth at the highest level this term, earning over HK$90 million in stakes.

Photo 1:
Ridden by Michael Kinane, VIVA PATACA (No. 4) wins the Hong Kong Champions & Chater Cup (HKGr1-2400M), third leg of the Triple Crown Series.


Photo 2:
Dr Stanley Ho, owner of VIVA PATACA, and trainer John Moore post for camera in celebration of their victory.


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Photo 6:
Stewards of the HKJC and the owner, trainer and jockey of the winning horse VIVA PATACA at the trophy presentation ceremony of the Hong Kong Champions & Chater Cup.