12/12/2010 1:35PM

Snow Fairy makes Hong Kong Cup her fourth Group 1 triumph of season

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Hong Kong Jockey Club
Snow Fairy, ridden by Ryan Moore, captures the Hong Kong Cup.

Snow Fairy was dubbed the “Queen of the Orient” as she scored her second Group 1 triumph in the Far East at Sha Tin on Sunday when her bold run in traffic resulted in victory in the $2.5 million Hong Kong Cup.

Meanwhile, Mastery gave British-trained horses a second triumph on Hong Kong International Raceday as he landed the $2 million Hong Kong Vase in which the Christophe Clement-trained Winchester backed up to finish 11th of 13.

Trained by Ed Dunlop of Ouija Board fame, Snow Fairy seemed hopelessly beaten in 12th place as the field entered the stretch in the 1 1/4-mile Cup, but Ryan Moore found a seam through the spread-out field. At the eighth pole, Moore had the 3-year-old Snow Fairy nipping at the heels of a bunched-up pack six at the front, from which point she ran them down for a neck victory over recent Jockey Club Cup winner Irian. The locally trained Packing Winner was third, 1 3/4 lengths farther back with defending titleholder Vision d’Etat a nose farther back in fourth. Snow Fairy, the 3-2 favorite, got 1 1/4 miles on good ground in 2:02.96.

“At the top of the bend I thought I had no chance,” Moore said, “but fortunately they came back to me. She is a machine, really, and has such a brilliant turn of foot.”

Snow Fairy, a daughter of Intikhab, has now won four Group 1 races in four different countries this year, having taken the English Oaks at Epsom, the Irish Oaks at the Curragh, the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup at Kyoto, and the Hong Kong Cup, which was her first try against older males. Add versatility to her many talents as the first two of those four victories came at 1 1/2 miles while her Japanese score was at 1 3/8 miles.

The winner of last year’s classic St. Leger, Mastery, a son of Sulamani, had finished a so-so third in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Marathon and was making only his third start since having finished a close fifth in the Dubai World Cup when he was just a short head behind fourth-place Gio Ponti. Sent off at 7-2 in the 1 1/2-mile Vase, the Godolphin-owned Mastery was always well-placed in third along the rail by Frankie Dettori, who pushed the button approaching the quarter pole, at which point the 4-year-old Mastery responded with a big effort. He went quickly clear for a handy 2 1/2-length score over Northern Dancer Turf winner Redwood with Melbourne Cup winner Americain, who was outpaced entering the stretch, along for third, a half-length behind Redwood and 1 1/4 lengths in front of the Japanese raider Jaguar Mail. The time for the 12 furlongs was 2:27.69.

“The horse has been flying the last couple of days,” said a jubilant Dettori. “When I pulled him out in the straight, I knew that nothing was going to outsprint me form there.”

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor announced that Mastery, who was coming off a victory in the listed 1/12-mile Floodlit Stakes on the Kempton Polytrack, would remain in training next year when his main goals will be the Dubai Sheema Classic and a defense of his Hong Kong Vase title.

Winchester, the lone American-trained horse in the four big races Sunday, was perfectly placed in fourth by Olivier Peslier but was found wanting when the real running began, backing up to finish 11th, 14 1/2 lengths behind Mastery, but just a half-length behind the Michael Stoute-trained Crystal Capella.

J J The Jet Plane edges Rocket Man in Sprint

In the day’s most exciting contest, J J The Jet Plane outdueled Rocket Man for a victory in the $1.8 million Hong Kong Sprint. Trained in South Africa by Michael Houdalikis and ridden by Peter Strydom, J J The Jet Plane outgamed the Singapore speedster by a short head with two-time Hong Kong Sprint winner Sacred Kingdom three-quarters of a length away in third. A gelded 6-year-old son of Jet Master, J J The Jet Plane traveled the one-turn six furlongs in 1:08.84.

The South African sprint champion in the 2007-8 season and the winner of the Group 3 Al Quoz Sprint at Nad Al Sheba in 2009, J J The Jet Plane had been just 1 for 7 later that year when trained in England by Richard Hannon. Returned to South Africa this year, he responded with victories in a pair of six-furlong Group 1 sprints, so his 17-1 price looks generous in retrospect.

Rocket Man’s loss continues the international bad luck he has been experiencing of late. He had been a half-length second to Kinsale King in the Dubai Golden Shaheen in March, and was beaten on his home turf at Kranji by a neck by Green Birdie in the KrisFlyer International Sprint in May. On Sunday, Green Birdie finished 10th.

Beauty Flash takes Mile at 9-1

Beauty Flash gave his local Hong Kong backers a 9-1 payoff with a game three-quarter length victory over French invader Royal Bench in the $2 million Hong Kong Mile. Gerald Mosse tracked the pace of Sight Winner aboard Beauty Flash, taking the lead at the three-sixteenths pole, from which point the gelded 5-year-old son of Golan gutted it out for trainer Tony Cruz. Two-time Sun Chariot Stakes winner Sahpresa gave France third place as well. A Shin Forward, who had beaten Sahpresa into fourth when winning Kyoto’s Mile Championship last month, was fourth.

Fourth three weeks ago behind Sprint scratch Able One in the six-furlong Jockey Club Sprint here at Sha Tin, Beauty Flash was winning for the first time since Jan. 24 when had taken the Group 1 Hong Kong Classic Mile by 2 3/4 lengths to complete a three-race winning streak. Cruz is eager to send Beauty Falsh to Dubai for the Dubai Duty Free in March and to Japan for the Yasuda Kinen in June.

The disappointment in the Mile was Paco Boy, who trailed virtually throughout in coming home last of 13, although beaten just 4 1/4 lengths by the winner.