12/10/2004 12:00AM

Battle Won up against awesome foe


Battle Won, winner of the Woodford County Stakes over 5 1/2 furlongs on turf at Keeneland on Oct. 22, is the only American challenger in the international races at Sha Tin, Hong Kong, on Sunday. All four are sponsored by Cathay Pacific Airlines.

Trainer Charles Simon has booked jockey Kieren Fallon for the 4-year-old Battle Won in the Hong Kong Sprint. Fallon advertised his talent in the U.S. recently on Ouija Board in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf and on River Belle in the Mrs. Revere Stakes.

Unfortunately for Battle Won, he is up against probably the best horse ever trained locally, Silent Witness. This ex-Australian gelding is unbeaten in 12 races in Hong Kong, including last year's running of the five-furlong Hong Kong Sprint, which this year is worth about $1.28 million.

Calstone Light O, winner by four lengths of the Grade 1 Sprinters' Stakes at Nakayama, Japan, on Oct. 3, and Var, the ex-American horse who won the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp the same day, provide stiff opposition.

Vallee Enchantee, Polish Summer, Warrsan, and Roosevelt, the first four home in the Hong Kong Vase a year ago, renew rivalry in that 1 1/2-mile contest. The Vase has a purse of about $1.8 million. French-trained Vallee Enchantee has not won any of her four starts this year but is still expected to be favored over the German-trained Simonas, who was second to Sulamani in the Pattison Canadian International at Woodbine on Oct. 24.

Durandal, second by four lengths to Calstone Light O in the Sprinters' Stakes but winner of the Grade 1 Mile Championship at Kyoto on Nov. 21, is the likely favorite for the Hong Kong Mile, worth about $1.8 million. Antonius Pius, a half-length second to Singletary in the Breeders' Cup Mile the local hope Grand Zulu; and German-trained Martillo lead the opposition.

Latice, bought privately by George Strawbridge a few weeks ago, can return to form in the Hong Kong Cup, worth about $2.3 million. She was an impressive winner of the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) in June, but her former owner, Enrico Ciampi, then wanted her trained for the Arc de Triomphe.

She twice failed over 1 1/2 miles, in the Vermeille and Arc, though not beaten by much either time. Now she is back to her best trip, 1 1/4 miles. This is the most competitive of the four races, and Rakti, Dance in the Mood, Ain't Here, and Powerscourt are all strongly fancied, but Latice can upset them all.