Ryan Moore ended his year on a high on Sunday as a first victory in the Longines Hong Kong Sprint completed a career ‘Grand Slam’ of wins at the big international meeting at Sha Tin.
Moore had earlier struck for a third time in the Hong Kong Vase courtesy of the Aidan O’Brien-trained Mogul, before the Japanese-trained Danon Smash gave him a landmark success.
Moore had previously partnered Snow Fairy (2010) and Maurice (2016) to Hong Kong Cup wins, while Maurice also landed the Hong Kong Mile with the three-time British champion jockey aboard in 2015.
Zac Purton, Joao Moreira and Gerald Mosse are the other three jockeys to have completed the quartet of HKIR victories.
Speaking after the win on Mogul, Moore said: “He’s a horse that we always expected a lot from. He was a good two-year-old, he won his Grade Two race at Leopardstown. I don’t know, maybe just the way the season unfolded, he took a while to really pull himself together.
“Maybe he was just a bit behind on Derby day (when sixth to Serpentine) and we were always on the back foot. He was super impressive when he won in Paris (Grand Prix de Paris) and his Breeders’ Cup run (fifth behind Tarnawa in the Breeders’ Cup Turf) wasn’t without merit.
“Today, the race worked out nicely for him, he’s beaten a really solid yardstick in Exultant. He (Exultant) always seems to consistently perform to the same level and never seems to run a bad race around here. He’s put them away very nicely.
“In reality, I was in front sooner than would have been ideal today but he took me there nicely. When he gets in front, he maybe lacks a bit of concentration still but he’s a beautiful looking horse. He’s got a fantastic mind and it doesn’t stress him. He’ll be a really nice four-year-old.
“He has a great mind, so travelling won’t stress him. He loves decent ground. I think a few times the ground was a little bit against him. Maybe even in America, the pace was wrong but the ground might have been loose enough. At York, the ground might have been deep enough for him that day. These fast, flat tracks suit him. They let him show what class he has.”
Moore, 37, first travelled to Hong Kong in 2001 as a teenager and has gone on to firmly establish himself as one of the world’s best.
He said: “I’ve always loved coming to Hong Kong. I came here when I was 18 and they were doing the breeze-up sale and I’ve always loved coming here.
“I hadn’t even rode as an apprentice then and I remember coming here and watching Douglas (Whyte) ride all the winners. It was a different time but it was always a great atmosphere and you know how much it means to the punters here. They love their racing and it will be great to have them back here.
“It’s fantastic racing and competitive racing. It’s been a shame I wasn’t able to get over here earlier this year, but hopefully we can come again. The year for everyone has been a mess, but we’re very thankful to everyone at the Hong Kong Jockey Club for getting me over.
“It’s been a big effort and I can’t really stress enough the time they’ve put in. We’re very thankful to get us over here.”