12/13/2015 12:38PM

A Shin Hikari scores huge upset in Hong Kong Cup

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Hong Kong Jockey Club
A Shin Hikari wins the Hong Kong Cup on Sunday at Sha Tin Racecourse.

A Shin Hikari, Highland Reel, Maurice, and Peniaphobia won seven-figure Group 1 races on turf Sunday in Hong Kong on a program in which Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Mongolian Saturday could finish only fifth behind Peniaphoabia in the $2.38 million Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin Racecourse.

Peniaphobia, second in the 2014 Hong Kong Sprint, led from the start and finished a half-length in front of the 4-5 favorite Gold Fun in a field of 13. Peniaphobia, a 7-2 shot, was ridden by Joao Moreira for trainer Tony Cruz.

Mongolian Saturday (30-1) was near the front early but faded in the final quarter-mile of the six-furlong race and was beaten four lengths.

“He was better focused early in the race, but from the quarter-pole to the end, he was a little confused,” said Florent Geroux, who rode Mongolian Saturday. “The experience of this kind of trip will help him.”

Green Mask, third in the BC Turf Sprint at Keeneland on Oct 31, finished eighth.

Top European jockey Ryan Moore won two of the four races, including the $2.12 million Hong Kong Vase on Highland Reel, the winner of the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park in August.

Highland Reel (2-1) led from the start of the race at 1 1/2 miles and finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of Flintshire, the 3-2 favorite who won the 2014 Hong Kong Vase. Highland Reel, a 3-year-old colt by Galileo, is trained by Aidan O’Brien. The colt was third in the Group 1 Cox Plate in Australia in October.

Moore won the $2.96 million Hong Kong Mile on the Japanese challenger Maurice, a 3-1 shot in a field of 14. Maurice, a 4-year-old Japanese-bred colt by Screen Hero, closed from midpack to win by three-quarters of a length over Green Treasure, a 17-1 shot. Able Friend, the 7-10 favorite, finished third. Mondialiste, second in the BC Mile at Keeneland, finished 12th.

Maurice has won three consecutive Group 1 or Grade 1 races in Japan and Hong Kong. His win occurred before A Shin Hikari, a 38-1 outsider, scored an upset win in the day’s richest race – the $3.2 million Hong Kong Cup at about 1 1/4 miles.

Ridden by former Japanese champion jockey Yutaka Take, A Shin Hikari raced at the front of the Hong Kong Cup and led by as many as three lengths before prevailing by a length over another Japanese runner, the 4-year-old filly Nuovo Record, who was ridden by Moore.

A Shin Hikari won Grade 2 and Grade 3 races in Japan earlier this year but was only ninth in the autumn running of the Grade 1 Tenno Sho at Tokyo Racecourse on Nov. 1. The Hong Kong Cup is by far the richest win for A Shin Hikari, a 4-year-old colt by Deep Impact trained by Masanori Sakaguchi.

Sha Tin had a record ontrack crowd of 85,500, who contributed to an all-sources handle of approximately $186.9 million for the 10-race program.