04/09/2017 10:16AM

Rapper Dragon takes Chairman's Trophy for fourth in row


Rapper Dragon won his fourth race in a row, his first open Group race, and his first start against older horses when he beat Beauty Only by a half-length Sunday at Sha Tin Racecourse in the Group 2, $518,470 Chairman’s Trophy Stakes.

Rapper Dragon became the first horse to sweep the 4-year-old Championship Series in Hong Kong when he won the Hong Kong Derby in March, and he staked a claim Sunday not just as the best 4-year-old in Hong Kong, but perhaps simply as the best horse in Hong Kong.

To be fair, Rapper Dragon got a five-pound break in the weights from Beauty Only, but he also probably was more superior than his bare margin of victory in the 1600-meter Chairman’s Trophy. Jockey Joao Moreira – who also won the Group 2, $518,470 Chairman’s Sprint Cup aboard Mr. Stunning on Sunday – had Rapper Dragon positioned fairly close to the leaders, Contentment and Blazing Speed, and made the front not much past the 400-meter mark at the top of the home stretch. Rapper Dragon had about a length on Beauty Only with a furlong to run, and appeared well within himself holding safe his older rival.

Trained by John Moore, Rapper Dragon is an Australian-bred son of Street Boss and the Danehill Dancer mare Swing Dance. He ended his 2015 – 2016 Hong Kong season with three straight wins and, following some soundness issues last fall and a fifth-place finish in his comeback run, Rapper Dragon now has won four stakes in a row. He was heavily favored Sunday when he ran 1600 meters over good-to-firm ground in 1:33.74, and appears to be the horse to beat later this month in the Group 1 Champions Mile at Sha Tin.

Circuit Land finished third, and Werther was a somewhat troubled fourth in what looked a useful prep for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over 2000 meters on the Champions Mile card.

Mr. Stunning, another 4-year-old, was facing the strongest opposition of his career while racing at level weights, but he got a dream run along the rail under Moreira to come home a half-length better than pace-setting Peniaphobia in the Chairman’s Sprint. Mr. Stunning hugged the fence while passing horses around the turn and into the home straight, eventually shifting out one path to pass the pace-setter in the final furlong. He ran 1200 meters around a bend in 1:08.74.

Lucky Bubbles did not show his best Sunday and finished third, a couple lengths behind Peniaphobia, and subsequently was disqualified to fifth for fouling Blizzard, who dead-heated for fourth with Thewizardofoz.

Mr. Stunning, who won his third in a row, is an Australian-bred son of Exceed and Excel and the Dayjur mare With Fervour.