The triple-crown dream has been retired for another 12 months at least after Viva Pataca failed to measure up to the international-class milers in yesterday's HK$8 million Citi Stewards' Cup. Not since the great River Verdon swept through the three races at 1,600, 2000 and 2,400 metres in 1994 has there been a triple-crown champion, but trainer John Moore harboured hopes that four-time Group One winner Viva Pataca could claim the celebrity treble this year. But after Stanley Ho Hung-sun's champion stayer worked home manfully into third place - beaten three lengths by Good Ba Ba and 13/4 lengths by Floral Pegasus - jockey Darren Beadman conceded that the sharper horses were simply too good at their pet distance. 'The barrier probably didn't help,' Beadman said. 'We had to go back and get him settled, but in saying that we followed Good Ba Ba throughout the race. But when he quickened, we simply couldn't go with him.' Beadman said the alternative riding strategy - to drive Viva Pataca forward from the start and try to take a more forward position - could have had dire consequences further down the track if the headstrong galloper became too fired up. 'Suddenly, you would have had him wanting to fight for his head, and not only might it have been bad for this race, but bad for the races down the track as well,' Beadman added. While disappointed, Moore was not too disheartened and committed Viva Pataca to the HK$8 million Hong Kong Gold Cup over 2,000 metres at Sha Tin on February 24. The triple crown, and Citi group's HK$5 million bonus, remains safe this year because Stewards' Cup hero Good Ba Ba will not be pursuing it. Trainer Andreas Schutz said Good Ba Ba would remain a specialist sprinter-miler, and not enter the Gold Cup at 2,000 metres.