Top Hong Kong-based English rider Brett Doyle will ride in Sunday's Singapore Gold Cup with a realistic chance of landing the $4.6 million premier race in the island republic. Doyle, retained in Hong Kong by Andy T.W. Leung, will partner Carry The Flag for Australian trainer Michael Kent in the 2,200-metre event which is the richest on the Malayan Racing Association circuit. Doyle landed the job because Kent, who bought the horse from leading trainer Paul Cole, wanted an English rider. Said Kent: 'The horse has done virtually all its racing in England except for a couple of trips to Italy where he was still ridden by an English jockey. 'It made sense to get a good English lad if I could so that he would most likely be ridden on a longer rein which the horse would be used to. Some of the Aussie lads tend to ride them a bit short and horses not used to it can resent it.' The offer for a ride in the big race came right out of the blue for Doyle who said last night: 'I have to say that I am really looking forward to it. I know the horse vaguely from England and they say it has a chance. 'But it's another opportunity to ride somewhere different. It fits in well because there would have been no question of me going if it had meant missing a race meeting here. 'That doesn't come into it. I am flying down after Saturday's meeting here and the Gold Cup meeting there is at night.' And last night at Sha Tin there was no lack of excitement in the featured Wayfoong Centenary Bowl where New Zealand galloper Astimonti (6-1) prevailed in a thrilling finish. Astimonti, ridden with some verve by Douglas Whyte, scored by a head from Don Sebastian (6-1) and topweight Universal Star (8-1) in the 1,800-metre race which was actually shortened by one metre because of track subsidence. The distance may have been less than planned but the cheers at the finish were not diminished as Whyte burst through on the inside to grab the vital advantage in the last few strides. Don Sebastian, who seemed to pull his way up to the front under Freddie Sanchez rather than come from behind as usual, ran extremely well to finish second having looked a fading chance soon after straightening. There was a short head between Don Sebastian and third-placed topweight Universal Star (8-1) who handled the step up in distance and ran most encouragingly for Eric Legrix. Whyte said: 'I'm glad I was on him because he was absolutely ready for this run. He went well for me but there was something there when it mattered and I knew that barring not getting a run in the straight Astimonti had to be there. 'They fanned out and he was really motoring at the right time. I thought he ran on well to the line.' There were tight finishes throughout the evening and none closer than the sixth event where 40-1 outsider Sai Kung Star beat Marquee Universal (6-1) by a fraction of an inch. Champion jockey Basil Marcus, successful earlier on favourite Momentum (5-2) in the second event, thought he had landed a double and took the David Hayes-trained galloper into the winner's stall. The majority of the 21,000 crowd probably agreed with him but the camera and the judge decided otherwise and Freddie Sanchez landed a very welcome winner. The South African was denied by another whisker in the nightcap when 35-1 chance King Of Toys, with Jimmy Quinn up, held on in the night's Class Three longer sprint. It was heads up and down at the finish of the Class Four fourth event with Steven King and Dull Lead (5-1) getting the vital nod at the expense of Small Wonder (14-1) at the end of 1,600 metres. Dull Lead has been a reliable performer for the Ricky P.F. Yiu stable. Riding and training honours were evenly shared around on a pleasant evening with Robbie Fradd, the current leading rider, keeping his strike rate ticking over. Fradd scored a convincing victory on Canadian Champ (7-1) for trainer John Moore in the Class Six third event while English rider Alan Munro started off proceedings by winning with Merry Star (9-2).