05/31/2007 11:00PM

Vengeance of Rain has distance edge at Sha Tin


Viva Pataca and Vengeance of Rain will duke it out in the 1 1/2-mile $1 million Hong Kong Champions and Chater Cup at Sha Tin on Sunday. The two ran first and second in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup going a quarter-mile shorter on April 29, but the longer distance should favor Vengeance of Rain, whose victory in the 12-furlong Dubai Sheema Classic was most impressive.

Anthony Delpech has the call on the David Ferraris-trained Vengeance of Rain, while Michael Kinane flies in from Epsom for the ride on Viva Pataca in what amounts to a clash between a pair of recent Hong Kong Derby winners, although the tough-as-nails Bullish Luck cannot be discounted.

In staying home at Sha Tin, Bullish Luck is passing up a chance to defend his title in Sunday's $1.6 million Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo. The final leg of the Asian Mile Challenge, it has drawn four Hong Kong invaders. The Hong Kong Mile winner, The Duke, will start, as will the two who beat him in the Champions Mile, Able One and Joyful Winner, plus Good Ba Ba.

It is Daiwa Major who looks the best, however. The winner of last November's Mile Championship at Kyoto, he closed well to be third to countrymate Admire Moon in the Dubai Duty Free on March 31 under a questionable ride from Olivier Peslier. With Katsumi Ando back in the irons, the Sunday Silence 6-year-old should bounce back with a vengeance.