Moore closes on magical mark
Reigning champion John Moore was the leading trainer at Sha Tin with a double but that still left him agonisingly short of the magical HK$100 million in prize money for the season.
Moore only had runners in four of the 10 races, and Sea Diamond (Tim Clark) and Time After Time (Brett Prebble) made his wait worthwhile by taking the last two on the card, however, that wasn't enough to push him into nine figures in stakes. That will have to wait until Wednesday, as Moore tries to chase down his personal best from 2010-11 of HK$106.3 million.
Sea Diamond and Time After Time left Moore 15 in arrears of John Size, who is long gone in what has been a foregone conclusion to the trainers' title race for some time, and he has still HK$9,150 to get to reach HK$100 million in stakes. Still, it was the future that Moore was talking about with Sea Diamond, a three-year-old with three wins from four starts, and probably to a lesser extent with Time After Time, a four-year-old who claimed his third win of the term under a desperate ride from Prebble.
Sea Diamond again looked uncertain of his next step when he came to win the ninth, but eventually got the job done under some serious persuasion from Clark, and that augurs well for next season.
'He's just a big baby who doesn't quite know what he's doing,' said Moore. 'The second horse Classic Jewellery is no slouch and they beat the rest easily. Sea Diamond isn't winning like he's some superstar but he is winning frequently and he's doing everything a little better each time he runs.
'He has improved a lot in the gates since we got the barrier blanket for him and is more relaxed in his races now. Tim says the horse is just learning his trade still but says he'll run a mile later on. He'll have one more and that will do for this season.'
Time After Time's season might have been even better than his three successes had he not run into Glorious Days more than once and had luck been kinder with barrier draws and had just a head to spare in the last race after another difficult trip.
'Brett told me after he rode this horse last start that he reckoned he knew him, knew just how to win on him and he delivered today in a race that was not really run to suit from the wide draw,' Moore said.
'But he was able to get cover and that allowed him to finish off and just get there. That will take this horse into triple figures in the ratings and it will get tougher but he hasn't had it easy, with the wrong draws virtually all season, so there might be another one in him the day he gets it all perfectly to suit.'
Prebble said Time After Time might even be able to manage a mile at Happy Valley next season, where his turn of foot would help him out.
'He's his own worst enemy, a bit of a scatter brain,' Prebble said.
'He has to have the crossed nose band so he doesn't overrace but he actually hates that his mouth is tied down.
'He's got a decent engine and a turn of foot and that was a tough win. He was out of chips on the line but I did make a long run on him because I thought the tempo of the race was pretty sedate.'
Leading the celebrations was Moore's son, George, who played a primary role in selecting both winners for the stable clients in whose colours they race.
The amount John Moore is short of to reach HK$100 million in stakes for this season