04/28/2003 12:00AM

Eishin Preston repeats in QEII

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Eishin Preston scored a repeat victory in the $1.8 million Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on Sunday, rewarding his many backers to the tune of 7-5.

Eishin Preston, a Japanese invader trained by Shuji Kitahashi, had been winless in six starts since taking last year's event. His liking for Sha Tin's right-handed oval has always been evident, however, as he had also won the Hong Kong Mile here in 2001.

A 6-year-old horse by Green Dancer, Eishin Preston rallied from mid-pack under Yuichi Fukunaga to lead at the sixteenth pole, and defeated the recent Hong Kong Derby winner Elegant Fashion by 1 3/4 lengths. Paolini, the German globetrotter, led at the eighth pole but faded to third, a neck farther behind. The time for the 1 1/4 miles on good to firm ground was a pedestrian 2:03.80.

Eishin Preston has now jumped into the lead in the race for the still-sponsorless World Series Racing Championship. The second leg of the Series will be the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot July 26.