12/10/2007 12:00AM

Doctor Dino impresses in Hong Kong Vase

EmailDoctor Dino sent Dylan Thomas to an ignominious career-closing defeat at Sha Tin on Sunday with a thoroughly decisive victory in the $1.8 million Hong Kong Vase on a day when ace miler Ramonti stretched his speed to win the 1 1/4-mile Hong Kong Cup and Sacred Kingdom was crowned king of the world's turf sprinters in the Hong Kong Sprint.

Winner of the Man o' War Stakes and third in the Arlington Million this summer, Doctor Dino produced an exhilarating turn of foot under Olivier Peslier to land the 1 1/2-mile Vase by 1 1/2 lengths. Recent Canadian International third-place finisher and Grosser Preis von Baden winner Quijano was second, with another German horse, Bussoni, a neck behind in third. It was another three lengths back to a tubby-looking Dylan Thomas in seventh with Red Rocks, who finished third and first in the last two Breeders' Cup Turfs, in ninth, five lengths behind the 7-1 winner. The time for the right-handed 12 furlongs on good ground was 2:28.20.

"It's the end of a long, hard season, and he got caught in quarantine for a long time," Aidan O'Brien said of Dylan Thomas, who now heads to stud with six Group 1 victories to his credit and earnings of $6,620,852 from 10 wins in 20 starts. "He's probably the best horse we've ever had."

Ramonti threw his hat into the ring as Godolphin's leading hope for the Dubai World Cup with a brave victory in the $2.5 million Hong Kong Cup, holding off hometown hero Viva Pataca by a half-length. The winner of three Group 1 miles in England this year, the 7-2 French-bred son of the obscure Italian stallion Martino Alonso overcame early rankness behind a slow pace to lead through the final furlong under Frankie Dettori, clocking 2:02.80 for the 10 furlongs. A second local favorite, Vengeance of Rain, showed nothing in finishing sixth, five lengths behind.

"We bought Ramonti after his third-place finish in the Mile here last year in the hope that he would develop into an international runner," explained Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford. "He'll have an entry for the Dubai World Cup. With hindsight, we made a good decision to miss the Breeders' Cup Mile for this race. It paid dividends today."

Sacred Kingdom, trained locally by Ricky Yiu, was most impressive in defeating defending title holder Absolute Champion in the $1.5 million Hong Kong Sprint, storming clear for a 2 1/4-length triumph while getting the one-turn six furlongs in 1:08.40 as the 2-5 favorite. Behind were Marchand d'Or from France in sixth and Miss Andretti from Australia in 10th, with the English horse Benbaun 13th and last.

"He's quite simply one of the best I've ever ridden," exclaimed Sacred Kingdom's French veteran jockey, Gerald Mosse. "Coming off the final bend, I had no room, but once he found the gap - boom!"

Good Ba Ba gave Hong Kong its second big-race tally of the day as he outdueled the Godolphin runner Creachadoir by a short head in the $2 million Hong Kong Mile. Good Ba Ba, a 5-2 Kentucky-bred son of Lear Fan trained by ex-German champion Andreas Schutz and ridden by Olivier Doleuze, was timed in 1:34.50 in repeating his recent Group 2 International Mile Trial win. Three-time Group 1 mile winner Darjina closed for third and will race again next year, but Breeders' Cup Mile runner-up Excellent Art ended his career with an eighth-place finish, four lengths behind Good Ba Ba.