11/13/2009 1:00AM

Viva Pataca prepping for Hong Kong Cup


The veteran Viva Pataca heads a field of 14 at Sha Tin on Sunday in the $387,000 International Cup Trial, the local Hong Kong Group 2 course-and-distance prep for the 1 1/4-mile Hong Kong Cup on Dec. 13.

A 7-year-old British-bred son of Marju,Viva Pataca has won even Group 1 races at Sha Tin. He concluded his spring season on May 31 with a neck victory over Thumbs Up in the 1 1/2-mile, Group 1 Champions and Chater Cup. In his Oct. 25 fall debut, he was only 1 1/2 lengths fourth to Packing Winner in the Grade 3 Sha Tin Trophy, but that race was run over an inadequate mile. Moreover, it was a handicap in which Viva Pataca was spotting Packing Winner eight pounds. and third-place Thumbs Up five.

Those two try him again in the Cup Trial under allowance conditions, Thumbs Up at equal weights and Packing Winner receiving just five pounds this time

Collection, winner of the Hong Kong Derby in March but only fifth in the Sha Tin Trophy, and Sha Tin Trophy runner-up Mr Medici, have their chances, as does Young Elite, who had his four-race winning streak ended last time by a short head while spotting the winner 14 lbs. in a 1 1/8-mile handicap.