Flashy colt finally shows who is Dominant
The real Dominant finally showed up yesterday, showing he will be a staying force for the foreseeable future, starting with the Group One Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2,400m) in three weeks.
The flashy John Moore-trained colt overcame a chequered passage in the straight under Douglas Whyte, only breaking clear inside the last furlong to blitz rivals at the end of a muddling-run race.
Dominant, who raced under the same name in England, was one of Moore's high-priced purchases aimed at the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby.
The near-black colt's best local run was a second in the Classic Cup, but he was unfavoured by a slow pace when eighth in the Derby and ran on well carrying top weight at Happy Valley last start over 2,200m - priming him for yesterday's statement effort.
'His presence in the paddock, his coat, his demeanour had improved every run since he has been here,' Moore said. 'In the paddock he looked so well and had just come on from the run at Happy Valley. He'll go to the Champions & Chater and that will be him for the season, then we'll leave him alone and let him have a nice off-season. 'It was encouraging and he'd probably have no trouble getting further either.'
With the 118-rated Noble Conqueror entered, it left the Dominant (104) carrying just 119 pounds, six more than the limit weight, and running against horses he had a clear class edge on.
'At the weights, he had to win and he did it,' said Moore. 'He might not have been the greatest bet at even money, but from a handicapping point if view, he was a good thing.'
Whyte (pictured) came away impressed at the way the horse responded when cluttered up and under pressure in the straight. 'He had every right to get beaten today,' Whyte said. 'I travelled up the rail and he just started to come good and a run half presented itself and I've stuck him in there and they just squeezed ... but he hasn't let up at all - if anything he put his head down and knuckled down and fought his way through that tight gap.'
The horse has had a tendency to overrace, he is still fitted with a crossed nose band, but even when Whyte was forced to check off heels at the 800m, Dominant responded like a more mature competitor.
'I went to peel off the fence to give him a bit of room and, as that happened, the horse in front shuffled back and put me back and I had to come off his heels,' Whyte explained. 'But he was kind and thorough. I can't believe he's been a horse that has pulled in the past ... he was an absolute gentleman today. He wasn't keen, he was absolutely beautiful.'
Moore earlier prepared Flash Knight to an impressive victory, adding to his deadly strike rate with Brett Prebble - the pair having now combined for seven wins this term.
Flash Knight appears to have shaken any erratic tendencies, but Prebble said the way the three-year-old laboured and drifted wide in the closing stages was an indication the four-year-old may need a rest.