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Oct 24, 2014

Hillstar takes 77th Canadian International


Toronto, ON ( - Post time favorite Hillstar surged through the stretch on his way to winning Sunday's $1 million Canadian International run over Woodbine's E. P. Taylor turf course at 1 1/2 miles.

The start of the International was delayed after morning line favorite Brown Panther acted up approaching the starting gate and then ran off with jockey Richard Kingscote in the saddle. Kingscote was unable to bring Brown Panther under control on the turf course, then fell off the horse. Brown Panther, the 2-1 program favorite, was scratched.

"Just before the break, the horse got wound up and unfortunately he got me off," said Kingscote. "When I got back on, I tried to keep him relaxed and as soon as I let go he bolted. There wasn't much I could do after that. He's never done that before. He sometimes dances about and gets on his toes, but he's never been that extreme."

Hillstar, trained by Sir Michael Stoute and ridden by Ryan Moore, raced in mid-pack of the nine-horse field. The 6-5 favorite began to draw closer to the leaders entering the stretch and gained the lead nearing the furlong pole.

Owned by Sir Evelyn De Rothschild, Hillstar held off former United Nations Handicap winner Big Blue Kitten, the 5-2 second pick, to post a three-quarters length victory.

"I am sure the boss (trainer Stoute) had this race as a target from a long way out and it was always something we had in the backs of our minds if things were going well," Moore noted. "I moved a bit too early today but he was the best horse and we kept it straightforward again."

Finishing third was local runner Dynamic Sky with 6-1 third choice The Pizza Man getting fourth. Rounding out the order of finish were Suntracer, Reporting Star, War Dancer, Pyrite Mountain and O'Prado Ole.

The time for the 77th International was 2:29 on a 'good' turf course.

The victory was the second for both trainer and rider in the International. Sir Michael previously won the race in 1996 with Singspiel while Moore won last year aboard three-time winner Joshua Tree. It was the first International win for the owner.

"He moved well and he moved fast," said Rothschild. "He's a great horse. We've seen him win, he won last time out at Newbury. And we're thrilled to be here at Woodbine."

Hillstar earned $600,000 to nearly double his career earnings to $1,260,500. The 4-year-old colt has won four of 15 starts with six seconds and a third.

Hillstar captured the Dubai Duty Free Arc Trial Legacy Cup at Newbury in England four weeks ago over soft ground as the 5-2 favorite. The win snapped a series of four races in which the 4-year-old colt finished second, including the Boodles Diamond Ormonde in May behind Brown Panther.

Hillstar returned $4.50, $2.70 and $2.50. Big Blue Kitten paid $2.80 and $2.80, and Dynamic Sky paid $4.50 to show.

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