01/18/2008 12:00AM

Good Ba Ba, Viva Pataca to meet in Hong Kong


Good Ba Ba and Viva Pataca will go head to head at Sha Tin on Sunday in the $1 million Stewards Cup, a one-mile Hong Kong Group 1 contest that serves as the first leg of the Hong Kong Triple Crown for older horses.

The winner of the Hong Kong Mile on Dec. 9 over a classy international field that included Creachadoir and Darjina, Good Ba Ba is in search of his third consecutive victory for trainer Andreas Schutz and will be piloted by regular rider Olivier Doleuze.

The John Moore-trained Viva Pataca, who will be ridden by Darren Beadman, has won four Group 1 races at Sha Tin, but they have all been at 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 miles, suggesting that mile specialist Good Ba Ba may have an edge over his more accomplished rival, who is coming off a sharp second-place finish to Ramonti in the 1 1/4-mile Hong Kong Cup. Defending champ and Hong Kong Mile fourth Floral Pegasus is in with an upset chance.

Never Look Back is the one to beat in the $1 million Hong Kong Classic Mile, a local Group 1 for 4-year-olds. The narrow winner of a good one-mile handicap last time, the New Zealand-bred Never Look Back will be challeneged by Visionario, a Group 3 winner at 2 in France, and Fearless, a Group 1 winner at 2 in South Africa, both of whom are hoping to recapture their lost form in Hong Kong.