04/24/2009 12:00AM

Archipenko defending in QEII


Following an uncharacteristically poor sixth-place finish in the Dubai Duty Free, Archipenko will seek redemption at Sha Tin on Sunday when he defends his title in the $1.8 million Queen Elizabeth II Cup, a race that will go without Artiste Royal, whose connections ultimately declined an invitation from the Hong Kong Jockey Club to run in the 1 1/4-mile Group 1 contest.

Trainer Mike de Kock had no explanation for Archipenko s dull effort at Nad Al Sheba, where he had previously taken the Group 3 Zabeel Mile. Kevin Shea has the ride aboard the Kingmambo

5-year-old, but his task will not be an easy one, for waiting to pounce are Viva Pataca, a six-time Group 1 winner at Sha Tin, and Presvis, an improving Luca Cumani-trained son of Sakhee who was second in the Duty Free.

On the same card, Good Ba Ba will defend his crown in the $1.5 million Champions Mile in which he will tested by Egyptian Ra, who beat him by three-quarters of a length last time in the seven-furlong, Group 1 Queen s Silver Jubilee Cup.

The winner of the Champions Mile earns an automatic starting position in the $2 million Breeders Cup Mile.