Plenty of positives in Vengeance's run
Vengeance Of Rain covered himself with glory in finishing a most unlucky third to Europe's champion mare Pride in Sunday's Group One Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup, and absolutely confirmed he was back in business as a force in big-time racing.
However, it may be that jockey Anthony Delpech will regret his hasty decision to hook Vengeance Of Rain out to the impossible position of three wide with no cover at the halfway mark and then pushing on with the issue so far from home.
Delpech rode Vengeance Of Rain perfectly in the race 12 months ago when bravely shouldering Kevin Manning on Alexander Goldrun back into a pocket on the home turn before surging to victory.
But on this occasion, the jockey undoubtedly took the wrong options because he was following the pre-post favourite Hello Pretty (Brett Prebble) and only had to stay there to get a strong tow into the race for a further 500 metres or so. That early move left Vengeance Of Rain pointlessly exposed to the rampaging finishes of Pride and the emerging Japanese force, Admire Moon.
Trainer David Ferraris looked livid after the race but, obviously not wanting to sound like a bad loser, tried to be outwardly cool. Ferraris simply offered a 'no comment' response to media questions about the race in general and his jockey's ride in particular.
Yesterday, Ferraris again refused to be critical but said he was proud of the performance of his horse and delighted that the 2005 World Racing Champion had come through his Cup exertions with a clean bill of health. The probable campaign for Vengeance Of Rain now will be the Stewards' Cup (1,600m) on January 28, followed by the Hong Kong Gold Cup (2,000m) on March 4 and culminating with the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2,000m) on April 29.
Viva Pataca ran a much better race for fourth, and now looks to be on the way back to his former powers.
Christophe Soumillon gave John Moore a positive review after the race and said the Marju gelding would soon be back on top.
Art Trader, a stablemate of Viva Pataca, had been given no chance in the race but did surprisingly well under Eric Saint-Martin to finish fifth, some 41/2 lengths behind Pride.
Art Trader won the Group Two Chairman's Trophy at 1,600m in March this year and may be in line for yet another win in elite company judging by his return to form here.