01/21/2008 1:00AM

Good Ba Ba best at Sha Tin


Hong Kong's best miler, Good Ba Ba, proved too good at his favorite distance at Sha Tin on Sunday when he scored an impressive victory in the $1 million Stewards Cup, the first leg of the Hong Kong Triple Crown for older horses.

Allowed to settle last of eight by jockey Olivier Doleuze, Good Ba Ba rallied to catch Floral Pegasus at the sixteenth pole and recorded a 1 1/4-length victory by speeding the last quarter-mile in 22 seconds flat. Sent off at 2.30-1, Good Ba Ba, a Kentucky-bred son of Lear Fan, covered the mile on good ground in 1:34.30. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to Viva Pataca in third.

Winning trainer Andreas Schutz said that Good Ba Ba, who was coming off a Dec. 9 victory in the Hong Kong Mile, would skip the next two legs of the Triple Crown and point instead to the seven-furlong Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup on March 16 for an expected clash with the world's top-rated sprinter, Sacred Kingdom.

In a second Hong Kong Group 1 mile on the Sha Tin card, the 11-1 Helene Mascot defeated Horace's Choice by a neck in the $1 million Hong Kong Classic Mile for 4-year-olds, clocking the same time as Good Ba Ba. Winning trainer Tony Cruz will point Helene Mascot, an Irish-bred son of Peintre Celebre, to the 1 1/4-mile Hong Derby on March 16.