02/06/2006 1:00AM

'Takeover' a winner down under


Takeover Target landed the first leg of the Global Sprint Challenge at Flemington, Australia, on Saturday with a narrow victory in the Group 1, $353,000 Lightning Stakes.

Sent off as the 3-1 favorite, Takeover Target, a gelded 7-year-old son of Celtic Swing, prevailed by a short neck over God's Own, with Hong Kong invader Cape of Good Hope three-quarters of a length farther back in third. The time for the five furlongs was 56.80 seconds.

Trained and owned by a former taxi driver, Joe Janiak, and ridden by Jay Ford, the Australian-bred Takeover Target won for the third straight time, having taken the listed 6 1/2-furlong Doomben Stakes on Dec. 24 and the six-furlong Group 3 Summer Stakes on Dec. 10. He will go next in the second leg of the Global Sprint Challenge, the six-furlong Australian Stakes at Moonee Valley on Feb. 18, when he will again meet that race's defending champ, Cape of Good Hope. Janiak also has plans to send Takeover Target to England for the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

* At Sha Tin on Sunday, Sunny Sing came from behind to take the Group 1, $1.03 million Hong Kong Classic Mile by a neck from Hail the Storm. Ridden by Eric Saint-Martin for trainer John Moore, Sunny Sing covered the mile in 1:34.80 on good to firm ground to give trainer John Moore his second group-race victory of the day. Moore also saddled Super Kid to win the 1 1/4-mile Group 3 Centenary Vase.