Monday, 28 May 2012
: Liberator foiled Ambitious Dragon's bid to become only the second Hong Kong Triple Crown winner when securing victory in the Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup at Sha Tin on Sunday.
| David Ferraris|
Photo by Racing and Sports
An astute tactical ride from Weichong Marwing saw the David Ferraris-trained gelding get the better of his illustrious rival with a determined drive to the wire.
Horse of the Year Ambitious Dragon settled at the tail of the six-runner field while his recent Queen Mother Memorial Cup conqueror Dominant restrained in fifth and Marwing camped second on Liberator at the girth of the front-running Super Pistachio. Liberator
took the lead with 600m remaining and kicked clear in the home stretch, holding on resolutely by a length and a half from the deep closing Ambitious Dragon
a neck away in third.
“He's improved so much and the race just panned out so well for him because if he sits on the outside of a horse he's at his best," Ferraris said.
"If he can sit on its girth and travel comfortably, he's hard to run down.
"I knew when he kicked hard the rest would have to pick up their feet because he's an out-and-out stayer.
"It was a very good move of Weichong's because if they'd kept going slow they'd have outsprinted us.”
Ferraris, who now has his sights set on the Hong Kong Vase in December, was particularly delighted to land the final leg of the Triple Crown with a horse purchased at the Hong Kong International Sale.
“Most of these nice horses are bought from overseas trainers. It's nice to bring one up from scratch,” said Ferraris, who previously took the prize in 2005 with Vengeance Of Rain.
“Liberator's a very quirky horse but he's settling down into such a lovely horse. He'll have a well earned rest now and we'll aim for the Vase in December.”
Trainer Terry Millard was proud of Ambitious Dragon's effort.
“He was very gallant in defeat and I couldn't be happier with him. He just got found out by a top-class ride from Marwing.”
John Moore, unsuccessful with Dominant, nonetheless landed a hat-trick of wins in the day's other Group race, the HKG3 Sha Tin Vase.
The trainer had collected with Dim Sum in 2010 and 2011 and this time it was the turn of Captain Sweet, who displayed courage to see off Arrived Ahead following a bobbing stretch duel.
The four-year-old, conceding 15lbs to the runner-up, got the verdict by a short-head under Brett Prebble.
Moore has earmarked the HKG3 Premier Cup (1400m) on 17 June for Captain Sweet before a well-earned summer rest.
Prebble rode a treble on the day.