04/24/2008 11:00PM

Good Ba Ba eyes Cup spot


Good Ba Ba can earn himself a spot in the Breeders' Cup Mile on Sunday should he prevail as expected in the $1 million Champions Mile at Sha Tin. The first foreign race to be run as part of the Breeders' Cup' Win and You're In program, the Group 1 Champions Mile shares top billing in Hong Kong with the $1.8 million Queen Elizabeth II Cup, in which Viva Pataca will seek redemption following his second-place finish in the Dubai Sheema Classic.

The Andreas Schutz-trained Good Ba Ba is seeking his fifth victory in a row. His last three scores have come in the Hong Kong Mile, the one-mile Stewards Cup, and the seven-furlong Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup, in which he beat the world's top-rated sprinter, Sacred Kingdom.

Fully nominated to the Breeders' Cup, Good Ba Ba, a 6-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Lear Fan, will have Hong Kong-based Frenchman Olivier Doleuze in the saddle.

Veteran milers Bullish Luck and Floral Pegasus, back home from failed efforts in the Dubai Duty Free, along with defending titleholder Able One are the main threats, but Japanese challenger Meiner Segal faces a stiff task.

A three-time course and distance winner at the Group 1 level, Viva Pataca is back at Sha Tin following his second to Sun Classique in the Sheema Classic on March 29. The cut back from 12 to 10 furlongs will pose less of a problem than his wide draw in 11, especially disadvantageous because of the short run to the first turn in 1 1/4-mile races at Sha Tin. In Quijano he faces the fast-closing fourth-place finisher of the Sheema Classic. Japanese invader Matsurida Gogh must be respected off his Arima Kinen victory over Daiwa Scarlet and Daiwa Major in December. Duty Free third Archipenko always finishes with a rush, while the recent Hong Kong Derby winner, Helene Mascot, is an improving 4-year-old.