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Kastoria just fails to overcome Hill

Updated: Thursday, 14 Jun 2007 16:05

Kastoria just fails to overcome Hill

British raider Collier Hill led home a clean sweep for European runners in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin.

Although the race had lost much of its lustre with the withdrawal of Ouija Board on Saturday, Alan Swinbank's charge more than compensated for her absence by just coming out on top in a thrilling battle with Irish challenger Kastoria.

Dean McKeown prevailed by a short head aboard Collier Hill with Alain de Royer-Dupre's French filly Shamdala back in third.

Japanese runner Admire Main set a strong early pace in the 12-furlong event while Collier Hill was pushed along to maintain his position in fourth.

Turning for home, McKeown switched wide and Collier Hill accelerated past Admire Main to pull clear.

However, Kastoria endured a rough ride in behind, being knocked back to last under Michael Kinane on the home turn before flying down the outside in the straight.

Collier Hill was not to be denied though, and the eight-year-old hung on to notch a second successive win at the highest level after his victory in the Canadian International in October.

McKeown said: "They went off very quick and coming round the bend he picked up on me and surged forward.

"When Kastoria came to challenge, he stuck his head out at the right time."

Part-owner Richard Crowe added: "I bought into him in October last year and it's been an unbelievable story ever since.

"I imagine if he comes out of it all right, he will be off to Dubai again for the Sheema Classic."

Fellow British raider Maraahel, representing Sir Michael Stoute, and the Aidan O'Brien-trained Scorpion finished well out of the frame.

Richard Hills, rider of Maraahel, said: "The strong pace should have suited him but he didn't pick up like he did in the Hong Kong Cup last year."

Seamus Heffernan partnered Scorpion and he felt they were a little unlucky.

He said: "I was help up at a vital time by Saturn."

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