THE Far East once again witnessed the brilliance of South African champion trainer Mike De Kock as he claimed the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup with runaway winner Eagle Mountain, reports MARTIN KELLY in mailonline.
De Kock struck with another Aidan O’Brien castoff in Archipenko at Sha Tin in the spring, and returned to the former colony to enjoy a brilliant win in the final major event of the 2008 international racing calendar.
Eagle Mountain was having just his second outing for the 44-year-old when runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, and was turned out a little under two months later to beat a high-class field including red-hot favourite Viva Pataca.
Kevin Shea swung into the home straight full of running and enjoyed a trouble-free passage to lead soon after and pass the post with a little over a length in hand of French challenger Balius.
De Kock said: ‘He was very well ridden. The original plan did not work out and he won the race on the turn when making his move.
‘He had an enforced injury early in the year and that has helped by allowing him to come here a fresh horse.
‘Coming into this race I thought he was as good as Archipenko and Sun Classique, but the way he is improving I think he is probably better than them.
‘He will have a break now and we’ll bring him back for Super Thursday in Dubai. After that we’ll have to make up our minds whether to run in the Sheema Classic or the Dubai Duty Free.’
The locals piled into Viva Pataca making him long odds-on in the betting pools, but for the second year running the John Moore-trained six-year-old suffered a nightmare passage and had to settle for fourth place.