Captain Sweet to lead team Moore
John Moore has the numbers and most of the power in the Group Three Prince Jewellery & Watch Premier Cup (1400m) at Sha Tin and tough four-year-old Captain Sweet could prove the best of his magnificent seven runners.
Moore will push his prize money past the HK$100 million mark for the season today and, fittingly, the leading big-race trainer should take out the final Group event of the season - the quandary for punters is which one it will be.
The only thing Captain Sweet (Zac Purton) and Admiration (Brett Prebble) don't have already that Xtension (Tim Clark) has is a Group One win in the resume.
That is something both will put right next season but, in the meantime, the few precious pounds separating the stable will be important under handicap terms.
Purton rarely rides for Moore - he has only had 77 rides and just nine in the past three years - but there is a little bit of history to his engagement for Captain Sweet. Moore had four runners in this same race four years ago and Purton gained an opportunity for the yard on Able One, an opportunity he grabbed with both hands as Able One posted an impressive victory at 30-1.
The Australian rider's chances for the stable have been few and far between since but, with seven runners, Moore has cast the net wide to find jockeys and Purton has a great chance to reprise his winning role.
With excellent tactical speed at this trip, Captain Sweet maps to get a lovely run sitting within striking range of the regulation leading pair, Aashiq and Leading City, and the gelding should appreciate a truly run race.
While Captain Sweet only scrambled in last start at 1,200m in a Group Three event, he carried 131 pounds in what was a sprint from halfway. The opposition there, to whom he conceded plenty of weight, Arrived Ahead and Best Eleven, will make that effort look rather good next term.
His main danger looks Admiration, another up-and-comer who graduated to winning a Group Two in the Chairman's Trophy but also promises to make it at the elite level.
Like Captain Sweet, he will get the right run and nobody is in better form than Prebble lately, all that may split the two four-year-olds is that small matter of a few pounds, give or take luck in running.
The other minor factor that could weight in Captain Sweet's favour is the 1,400m trip, as this looks his distance - he has yet to be unplaced in eight attempts - while Admiration is trending more towards being a miler.
In these high-grade handicaps, the lighter weighted horses are always dangerous - only talented horses get into these fields, so when you have a horse with serious ability like the Caspar Fownes-trained Fair Trade (Tye Angland) on 120 pounds, he commands respect.
Fair Trade would have been right up the top of the weights had he been sound and done what his ability would allow, but the sting out of the track might help him with his aches and pains. He hasn't run since a disappointing ATV Cup effort a month ago, but Fair Trade has always been at his best fresh. Fownes hasn't trialled the horse so that freshness will be there and he has a weight turnaround with Captain Sweet for their last meeting behind Little Bridge.
Punters will also give a winning chance to Sweet Orange (Weichong Marwing) and, despite dropping back from 2,000m to 1,400m, the David Ferraris-trained colt has been in the thick of things all season and it won't surprise if he is hitting the line strongly again.
The number of runners John Moore will be sending out in the Premier Cup