SINGAPORE, May 20 (UPI) -- Chinchon avenged a tough loss a year ago with a stretch-running win in Sunday's $2.4 million Singapore Airlines International Cup.
The French-based runner, fifth last year, tracked the pace this time around, got to the outside entering the stretch and shot to the lead between horses. Under urging from jockey Olivier Doleuze, the 7-year-old son of Marju quickly accelerated and won off by 3 1/2 lengths over Hong Kong runner Zaidan. Chinchon ran the 2,000 meters in 2:02.43.
Flax, a locally based horse, finished third with Zazou, owned by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, taking fourth..
"Sometimes, when you have a second chance, you do not let it get away," said a jubilant Doleuze.
He added the rain-softened ground at Kranji Racecourse made enough difference that, "I traveled as a winner all the way."
Doleuze said he followed other horses into the turn. "Then, I could get him out and with the cut of the ground, his acceleration was just there."
Chinchon has been well traveled. He finished second in the Grade I United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park last summer and won the Group 1 Prix Ganay on his home turf this March before disappointing in the Group 1 Audemars Piguet QE II Cup in Hong Kong last month.
Representative of Chinchon said he will be shipped back to France but his next race has not been decided.
Ato rallied down the center of the track to take out Sunday's $800,000, Group 1 KrisFlyer Sprint by 1 1/2 lengths over Mr Big.
The victory was redemption for trainer Patrick Shaw and jockey Barend Vorster. Patrick Shaw trains Singapore's superstar sprinter, Rocket Man, who was forced to withdraw from the race with a minor injury. Vorster had ridden Rocket Man in many of his early races.
Sunday, the 4-year-old South African-bred horse sat off the early speed and made his move midway down the stretch. He caught Mr Big within the final 100 meters and was clear at the end. Secret Asset, representing England, finished third. The 1,200 meters over yielding turf went in 1:10.57.
The disappointment of the race was Krypton Factor, who defeated Rocket Man on March 31 in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen at Meydan on World Cup night. Krypton Factor finished fifth, behind another local, Captain Obvious.
Ato's owner, Dennis Evans, said he will leave it up to Shaw to decide what to do with Ato now. He noted, however, the KrisFlyer Sprint is a leg of the Global Sprint Challenge, which offers a $1 million bonus for any horse which can win three legs of the Challenge in different countries. The next race in the series is at Royal Ascot next month.
"That would be a dream," Evans said, adding the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint in December would be "a more realistic target."
"It might make more sense to stay closer to home," he added, "and see what he could do against those horses."