MOORE STILL ON THE MARCH DESPITE RETIREMENT NEWS
Next season will be John Moore’s last as a Hong Kong trainer.
Moore’s hopes that the HKJC would permit him to stay on beyond the age of 70 came to nothing when it was confirmed the mandatory retirement rule would be adhered to this week but the veteran Aussie still has a lot to play for.
Smart Rocket’s win at Happy Valley on Wednesday means Moore lies just two behind his old rival John Size as he bids to win the Hong Kong trainers’ title for the eighth time.
There are three meetings and a total of 31 races for him to reel Size in, and, with nine runners at Sha Tin on Sunday and a strong team assembled for the last day of the season next weekend, this is one race that still has distance left to run.
ALDO ON A ROLL
Fresh from a positive review in the midweek edition of Hong Kong Diary, Aldo Domeyer followed up his Monday double at Sha Tin by riding three winners from just five rides at Happy Valley on Wednesday.
The 32-year-old South African sealed his treble when the highly progressive Not Usual Talent broke the track record in a strongly-run finale and revealed that he has been trying to learn from the best as he adapts to his new home.
Make that a treble for Aldo Domeyer as Not Usual Talent roars home in the Valley nightcap! 💥 #HKracing #HappyWednesday pic.twitter.com/rTz9yLXWK5
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) 3 July 2019
“The more time I’ve spent here, the more comfortable things have become and the more I’ve started to understand the tracks and the pace of things,” he said.
“I’ve watched Joao (Moreira) and I’ve watched Zac (Purton) and they often trust their instincts on these tracks – I think it’s vital that you do.”
CHAN THE MAN TO SEIZE THE MOMENTS
Hong Kong’s newest apprentice Alfred Chan was another rider in the news on Wednesday – marking his first night at the Valley with a narrow success on My Ally – and the youngster should go close again on when he links up with Joyful Moments for the first time in Sunday’s fourth race on the AW at 7.00.
Richard Gibson’s gelding comes up against a potential improver in Ping Hai Galaxy, who has faded in two turf starts but is bred for the dirt and has shown much more sparkle in his morning trials on this surface.
Sweet 16! Michael Chang hits the benchmark for the season as Mega Heart grinds out victory under Keith Yeung. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/Dx0yVTtf2p
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) 12 June 2019
The grey looks one to keep onside with Moreira in the irons, but Joyful Moments appeals as the likely value option after dropping to a mark just 1lb higher than the one he last won from.
Joyful Moments has caught the eye several times since that win, including when a slow-starting sixth behind Mega Heart here last month. The winner re-opposes here but Joyful Moments has a 17lb pull once Chan’s 10lb claim is taken into account and a smarter break should help him have a major say this time.
DEREK AT THE DOUBLE ON SPEEDY YOUNGSTERS
Chan’s claim will also come in useful aboard the very speedy Multimillion in the featured members Cup at 9.05.
Tony Cruz’s gelding has built up a strong record over Sha Tin’s straight 5f track and looks bound to go forward again, but whether he can give weight to Chris So’s very impressive debut scorer Classic Unicorn remains to be seen.
Classic Unicorn impresses on debut... and that gives @zpurton the record for most prize money earned in a single Hong Kong season with a running total of $207,714,765. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/WUjuwE4UOg
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) 2 June 2019
The fact that Zac Purton can’t do the weight means that Derek Leung has picked up the ride on Classic Unicorn and last year’s leading homegrown rider has picked up the mount on another useful sprinter in Winner Supreme.
This gelding has drawn wide in stall 12 for the Levade 6f at 10.10 but he has tremendous early pace and should have no problem getting across to lead.
Rationing that speed evenly is the key challenge facing Leung but Winner Supreme has trialed strongly since running below par on his latest start back in April and a mark of 75 still looks very fair under conditions which ought to suit him ideally.