The John Moore-trained Beauty Generation was bidding for a third successive win in the Group One showpiece and settled on the heels of Ka Ying Star through the early exchanges. Waikuku also broke well before being taken back.
Zac Purton still had plenty of horse underneath him on the favourite two furlongs out, but Southern Legend threw down a strong challenge a furlong and a half out and while Beauty Generation refused to give in, Vincent Ho’s mount had his head down at the right time on the line.
Waikuku was third, with Rattan fourth.
Earlier, Mr Stunning rolled back the years to take the Chairman’s Sprint Prize.
Much of the pre-race attention had surrounded Aethero and his supporters enjoyed the perfect beginning, as the John Moore-trained favourite was smartly away from the stalls to lead the Group One field.
But it became clear soon after entering the straight that all might not be well and he was eased and virtually pulled up by Zac Purton from the 300-metre mark.
Market rival Hot King Prawn had every chance, as did Voyage Warrior, who had beaten the big two last time out, but ultimately it was the seven-year-old Mr Stunning who burst through under Karis Teeton.
Twice the winner of the Hong Kong Sprint at the International meeting, the Frankie Lor-trained gelding had three-quarters of a length in hand over Big Time Baby, who edged Aethero’s stablemate Thanks Forever for second.
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