05/29/2005 12:00AM

Deep Impact, Vengeance Of Rain impressive in victory


Deep Impact and Vengeance Of Rain stamped themselves as two of the very best horses in Asia, and perhaps the world, with victories Sunday in the Japanese Derby and Hong Kong Champions & Chater Cup.

Deep Impact was the highly impressive 5-length winner of the $3.17 million Tokyo Yushun, or Japanese Derby. Coming form well behind at Tokyo Racecourse, the Sunday Silence colt rumbled to a handy score over Inti Raimi as the 1-10 favorite with Six Sense another 2-1/2 lengths back in third. With Yutaka Take along for the ride, the Yasuo Ikee-trainee traveled the 1 1/2 miles on firm ground in a fast 2:23.30. Kent Desormeaux finished ninth aboard Brave Heart, 12 lengths behind the winner.

Coming off an equally impressive victory in the 1 1/4-mile Japanese 2000 Guineas, Deep Impact remains undefeated and could yet prove to be one of the best horses produced in Japan. He was bred by Northern Farm, who are also the breeders of Derby runner-up Inti Raimi.

In taking the $1,028,000 Hong Kong Champions & Chater Cup at Sha Tin, Vengeance Of Rain was presenting his case for Horse of the Year honors in Hong Kong. Previously the winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Cup against an international field, as wells as the Hong Kong Derby, both at a mile and a quarter, Vengeance Of Rain was running for the first time at 1 1/2 miles. Sent off as the 2-5 choice, the David Ferraris-trained son of Zabeel rallied to defeat Best Gift by half a length with the pacesetting Saturn fading to finish third, three lengths behind Vengeance Of Rain. The time on good ground was 2:29.90.