04/24/2010 11:00PM

Viva Pataca by a neck in QEII Cup


Viva Pataca held off Lizard's Desire in the $1.8 million Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin on Sunday to notch the eighth Group 1 triumph of his career.

The victory, Viva Pataca's second in the QEII, allowed him to become the highest-earning horse in Hong Kong history. An 8-year-old gelding, Viva Pataca has bankrolled $10,219,190 since his first start in Hong Kong on Jan. 1, 2006, during which time he won 13 of 36 starts. Before that, he had won five times in eight starts in Britain, where he raced as Comic Strip, for total earnings of $10,324,655.

Viva Pataca came from fourth-place to lead 150 yards from the wire, then held off Lizard's Desire by a neck. Super Satin closed well to be third, a nose behind the runner-up. Presvis, the favorite, got off to his usual slow start, trailed to the quarter-pole, and came home fifth, beaten just over 1 1/2 lengths. The winning time on 1 1/4 miles of good ground was 2:04.97.

Trained by John Moore, the 15.35-1 Viva Pataca had not won since May 31, when he took the 1 1/2-mile Hong Kong Champions and Chater Cup. On Sunday, Moore and rider Weichong Marwing employed new tactics, keeping him closer to the pace than usual.

"Viva Pataca has been the soundest horse you could train and has been the greatest servant a trainer could ask for," Moore said. "He'll be back next season because I have never put much mileage into him."

Next on the agenda will be the May 30 Champions and Chater Cup, a race he won in 2006 and 2007.

Viva Pataca's victory gave Moore a huge double; he had earlier won the $1.5 million, Group 1 Champions Mile with Able One. A 7-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding, he prevailed under Darren Beadman to defeat Fellowship by three-quarters of a length, with Beauty Flash another three-quarters of a length back in third. Last year's winner, Sight Winner, was fourth. Dubai World Cup third Imbongi was seventh.

The big disappointment was Good Ba Ba, the favored 3-time Hong Kong Mile winner who never got involved and finished eighth, beaten 3 3/4 lengths. The time for the one-turn, right-handed mile was 1:33.66.

Able One recaptured the form that had won him the Champions Mile in 2007. Moore said his next start could come in the one-mile Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo on June 6.