doctor dinoDoctor Dino (Singapore Turf Club)Having traveled the globe this season, Doctor Dino (Fr) (Muhtathir {GB}) added his richest prize, taking the G1 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase over Quijano (Ger) (Acatenango {Ger}). Odds-on favorite Dylan Thomas (Ire) (Danehill) never threatened, finishing seventh.

Despite well-publicized concerns about his fitness level and the toll a long campaign might have exacted on him, Dylan Thomas was pounded into 7-10 favoritism for the Hong Kong Vase, but in the end, it was the well-traveled Doctor Dino who came home best to post a mild upset.

Sent off the third betting choice to Dylan Thomas here, Doctor Dino broke well from an inside gate and landed close to the early pace, set by Viva Macau (Fr) (Sendawar {Ire}). The frontrunner was joined by the German mare Macleya (Ger) (Winged Love {Ire}) as they turned up the backstretch and Doctor Dino was eased back to a more midfield position while scraping the paint. In the meantime, Dylan Thomas and John Murtagh were further back in the field and the contest appeared wide open as the raced to the head of the lane. At that point, Christophe Soumilon took Bussoni to the front and it appeared for a few strides that he might be able to see off the competition. But Doctor Dino, deftly maneuvered off the fence and four off the rail in the drive, closed in with massive strides, overhauled Bussoni and held Quijano in the final run to the wire.

“We’ve always had positive vibes about him this week but you need luck in running and things didn’t look too good early in the straight,” admitted winning trainer Richard Gibson. “But when you have the likes of Olivier Peslier riding for you then you don’t worry. We had become sick of running well in big races around the world but in the last two months he has won two Group 1s and since, this was his first time over a mile and a half, who knows what’s next?” For Dylan Thomas, the race marked the end of an otherwise terrific year. “It’s the end of long hard season and he got caught in quarantine for a long time,” trainer Aidan O’Brien commented. “He was as big as a bull and, although we tried, we couldn’t do too much about it. He’s probably the best horse we’ve had and ‘s a great credit to all the lads who’ve kept him sound.”

Extract from TDN 10.12.07