Hong Kong speedsters Sight Success and Duke Wai fell short in Saturday's US$1.5 million Group One Al Quoz Sprint (1,200m) on Dubai World Cup night, but both gallopers turned in brave performances to ensure their connections didn't go home empty-handed.
After jumping well, the pair travelled just off the pace down the Meydan straight and made their runs together down the outside.
The John Size-trained Sight Success crossed the line in fourth under Ryan Moore, about a length behind blowout winner Danyah, while Pierre Ng Pang-chi's Duke Wai was a further head back in fifth under Jerry Chau Chun-lok.
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"It was a very brave run given that we just had a week to settle in. It was a very good performance and he proved that he can do it in the straight," Ng said of Duke Wai, his first overseas runner.
"He was just a bit unlucky, he didn't get cover until the very end. If we were more patient, I think we would have got a little bit closer. But our intention was to get prize money and we got it."
Duke Wai snared US$45,000 for his owners and Ng was quick to set his sights on a return trip to the Middle East with his seven-year-old.
"We will see how he recovers when we get him back to Hong Kong as to whether [he goes to the Group One Chairman's Sprint Prize on April 30]. Otherwise we will just race him very lightly and we'll come back next year," the trainer said.
Local jockey Chau was also getting his first taste of Meydan and walked away happy with the performance of Duke Wai, whose biggest successes in Hong Kong have come at Class One level.
"He ran very well. He jumped very well and he put himself a little bit more forward than we expected him to. I thought he was a chance at the 500m when I moved him out and let him start rolling," Chau said.
"He responded very well and the last 300m I felt like he stayed one-paced so I changed my whip to the right and tried to let him go again, and he responded very well and stayed on well. I was happy with that."
Twice placed at Group One level this season, Sight Success jumped the more favoured of the two Hong Kong runners and delivered a showing that satisfied superstar jockey Moore and saw connections pocket US$75,000.
"He's a very brave horse, he gave his best. I kind of felt the horse who led didn't bring me far enough into the race and we were left vulnerable and exposed from a long way out as a target and we were picked up. He battled on very well, he's a tough horse," Moore said.
The Astrologist finished second for Australia, while Godolphin's Al Suhail filled third.
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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.
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