Fifteen years ago, after Indigenous won the Hong Kong Vase for the local team in 1998, Andre Fabre struck back to take the trophy back to Europe with Borgia.
On Sunday, he repeated the dose, taking the HK$16.5 million staying feature with Arc de Triomphe and Breeders’ Cup Turf runner-up Flintshire, a year after Dominant won for the home team.
Flintshire (Maxime Guyon) came from midfield to hold off another local, Tony Cruz-trained Willie Cazals (Douglas Whyte), with John Size’s Khaya (Mirco Demuro) hanging around for third after setting slow fractions in front.
Dominant (Joao Moreira) could not match last year’s heroics, finishing fourth after making a bid along the fence.
Flintshire was the first Hong Kong winner for one of the world’s biggest owners, Khalid Abdullah, after placings in the past with the likes of Polish Summer, Redwood and Spanish Moon, and his representative, Teddy Grimthorpe, admitted it was a relief.
“We’ve come close before, so to break through was a big thrill,” he said.
“I was worried about the speed. I was yelling from the stands for them to go faster in front, but in the end he was too good anyway.
“He’ll stay in training next year and might be back in 12 months’ time.”