Moore eyes record stake mark
Champion trainer John Moore had his best-ever season by stake money last year, but is well ahead of schedule to register a new high mark this season if he can land a sixth Champions & Chater Cup tomorrow.
Technically, Moore could even claim to have already won the final Group One of the term six times, as he dead-heated with Survey King and Makarpura Star in 1995.
But it is an event he has dominated recently with three-time winner Viva Pataca (2006, 2007, 2009) and last year's winner Mighty High.
'It's an important race in the season, as the winner almost invariably is voted the champion stayer for the year and I've got two horses absolutely primed for it,' Moore (pictured) said.
'And if they could finish first and second, that would probably take the kitty past HK$100 million in stakes for the season. Being the leading prize money earner to me is more important than the championship itself and if we can get past HK$100 million on Sunday, then that gives me a chance to get to maybe HK$108 to HK$110 million by the time the season ends - and that's a season I'd be more than happy with.'
With HK$106.05 million in stakes last year, as well as the championship, Moore enjoyed the peak season of his career. But comparison of the figures at this stage last year make for interesting reading with that 'HK$108-110 million' figure in mind.
When Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup day dawned last year, Moore was on HK$86.4 million - he will wake up tomorrow with HK$93.86 million already in the bank. 'Realistically, there isn't a lot left at the top end of the prize money scale after this weekend, only the Prince Jewellery & Watch race next month, but that was the case last year, too,' said Moore.
He has high hopes for his Champion & Chater runners and has chances with Able Speed and Captain Sweet in the other Group feature, the Sha Tin Vase, which he has won the past two years with Dim Sum.
While Dominant represents the stable's top elect, Moore revealed he may have overcome an issue with Irian which has held him back.
The six-year-old has suffered with 'speedy cuts' - when a horse's hooves strike his own fetlocks on the way through as he completes his galloping action.
'We looked at the original photos we had of the horse when we bought him, and you could see that he had wedges on his hind feet,' Moore said.
'That suggests that his previous trainer had a similar problem and that was how they dealt with it and so we've done the same. It just changes the balance of his hindquarters so that when the back feet come through they come at a slightly different angle. In his three gallops with the wedges he hasn't been speedy cutting so maybe it is working and we'll get a good run out of him.'
However, Dominant looks the major stumbling block for the favourite, Ambitious Dragon, and Moore couldn't be more pleased with him.
'He worked nicely this week, 1,800m down the back and closed off in 22.9 seconds. My assistant says the horse is in top form and fully primed to give this a real shake,' Moore said.
'If Ambitious Dragon doesn't stay, or if he isn't at his best, Dominant is flying and would go two miles, so the distance is not a question.'