03/23/2017 11:48AM

Hong Kong: Winner's Way has easier task in Lusitano Challenge Cup


Considering the competition Winner’s Way has faced in recent months in Hong Kong, starting as the 131-pound highweight in Sunday’s Lusitano Challenge Cup at Sha Tin racecourse is a relief.

Winner’s Way was fourth in the Hong Kong Classic Mile on Jan. 22, and 10th in the Hong Kong Classic Cup on Feb. 19. Those races are the first two legs of the Hong Kong Triple Crown and were won by Rapper Dragon, who won the Hong Kong Derby last weekend to sweep the series.

Winner’s Way is part of a field of 12 in the $225,315 Lusitano Cup at about a mile on turf, the eighth on a 10-race program. Wagering is available on DRFBets.com.

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Trained by Tony Cruz, Winner’s Way won twice in late 2016, including at seven furlongs on turf at Sha Tin in a handicap on Dec. 11. Winner’s Way typically races near the front and set the pace in the Hong Kong Classic Cup.

The race will be the Hong Kong debut of Rocketeer, who was second in the Group 3 Norman Robinson Cup at Caulfield Racecourse in Australia last October, and the second start in the country for the Italian stakes winner Dee Dee D’Or.

Rocketeer was seventh in the Group 1 Victoria Derby at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne in November, his final start in Australia. Dee Dee D’Or was 10th after a troubled start in a handicap in his first start in Hong Kong on Feb. 26. In Italy, Dee Dee D’Or won a listed stakes at 1 1/4 miles on turf for 3-year-olds last April.

Leading rider Joao Moreira is booked to ride Baby Mama, who was second in a handicap on Feb. 26. Moreira is riding the Dubai World Cup program in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday. He is scheduled to arrive in Hong Kong early Sunday afternoon and will miss the first few races of the Sha Tin program.