04/27/2014 12:32PM

Rising Hong Kong star Designs on Rome gets better of old rival


Designs on Rome, the newest Hong Kong star, stepped outside age-restricted competition for the first time Sunday and beat defending champion Military Attack by a neck in the Group 1 Audmars Piguet QEII Cup at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong.

Trainer John Moore swept the top two spots in the race, while the South African native Vercingetorix could only finish third, beaten two lengths by Military Attack while no match for the top pair in the final accounting. Tommy Berry rode Designs on Rome, while Joao Moreira was aboard Military Attack.

Irish-bred Designs on Rome, owned by Cheng Keung Fai, was privately purchased after a second-place finish behind champion Dawn Approach in the Group 1 National Stakes in September 2012. He finished second this past winter in his Hong Kong debut but won the Hong Kong Derby in February and took the measure Sunday of the two-time Group 1 winner Military Attack.

Held near the back of 10-horse field, Designs on Rome advanced while four wide on the right-handed far turn as Military Attack slipped through along the inside. The two came together with about a furlong to run, with Designs on Rome just getting the better of his older rival in the final yards.