Military Attack 'can strike it really big next season'
The John Moore-trained Military Attack may have been bought as a Derby horse this term and missed out on that silverware, but a brilliant swoop to take the Chan Trophy yesterday left no doubt the confidence behind his purchase wasn't misplaced and the big stage still lies ahead.
Douglas Whyte donned the colours of Group One Champions Mile hero, Xtension, for his first race ride on Military Attack yesterday and might well have thought he was on the other Moore-trained star as he gathered up Aomen in the final 100m, then simply dismissed him despite the steadier of 133 pounds.
'He gets 2,000m, and that's the horse we thought we were buying in England last year,' Moore said. 'He's got a great future and he'll be up with the best horses around next season. Douglas put him to sleep out the back and look at that turn of foot. We toyed with the idea of going up a grade and running next week in the ATV Cup, where he would have had a much lighter weight, but decided against it and we'll just let him go through his classes at this point.'
Only two or three Class Two winners a season carry the top weight and most go on to establish themselves as top graders. Whyte added the weight of his opinion to the notion Military Attack would be in that category and said the win had much to do with Moore's thoroughness.
'John knows his horses so well and he told me 'if you don't get him out the back and switched off, he won't run a race' and it was the vital ingredient to the win,' Whyte said. 'Neil Callan rode Military Attack one day and he was up handy and it looked like he had every chance and was disappointing, but I can see how easy it is to get sucked in by him and fall into the trap of having him up there.
'He isn't one of these Europeans who comes out a bit slow, in fact, he pings the gates and if it hadn't been for John's warning before the race, I'm sure I could have been running third, fourth, fifth today without having to pressure him to be there. I would have ridden him where he was comfortable but it wouldn't have suited him. Once he gets on the bridle, he doesn't spit it out at all and then he hasn't got that acceleration at the finish.'
But he had plenty of acceleration when ridden cold, with Military Attacks' final 400m one of the top five for the card, bettered only by short-course sprinters earlier in the day.
'He's pretty special. They were going quick and I looked and saw I was a long way off them so I started to niggle. On the replay it doesn't look like he's building up but I could feel him gathering momentum and the last thing I wanted was to break it, so I brought him right out in the centre of the track,' Whyte said.
'When I gave him the first backhander, he took himself straight into second, still three lengths off Aomen, but then a second backhander and he went to him so quickly I could put the whip away. He's got everything - he's strong, well put together.
'He's a bit of a boy as he's still a colt but there's nothing nasty or ungenuine about him. It might come against him later but I don't see any reason to worry about cutting him yet.'
Moore added owner Steven Lo Kit-sing's dual Champions Mile hero, Xtension, will not go to the Yasuda Kinen next month.
'It's so hard to find and buy these good horses, Xtension is so genuine and we don't want to burn him out,' Moore said. 'I have to sit down with Mr Lo and sort out exactly where we are going with the horse in the future but he won't go to Japan.'
Moore landed a double when Sea Diamond (Tim Clark) saluted 30 minutes later.
The final 400m split Military Attack unleashed to win the feature