Moore keen on double-handed Aussie raids
Reigning champion trainer John Moore is hopeful he will have live chances in both the WS Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup at Australia's spring carnival later this year, but stressed the owners of Xtension and Dominant have yet to give the green light.
While media outlets in Australia are running hot with the line both horses are guaranteed visitors, Moore warned yesterday that is by no means the case.
'I think they would be great horses to take there, with plenty of time to get back for the international meeting afterwards, and it would be the strongest hand I've taken if they do go, but I'm still waiting for the owners - it's all up to them, of course,' Moore said.
'I've spoken about the trip with Xtension's owner, Steven Lo [Kit-sing] and he seemed fairly positive about the idea, but neither he nor the syndicate that owns Dominant has confirmed they will go.'
If he does go, Moore is hoping to take more of a hit-and-run approach, particularly with Dominant, who may follow the pattern of recent Melbourne Cup winners Media Puzzle, Americain and Dunaden, having one race in the Geelong Cup then into the main event.
Meanwhile, New Zealand jockey James McDonald, who won the Champions Mile on Xtension for Moore in May and has been mentioned as a possible stable rider for the leading yard, kicks off his first mini-stint at Sha Tin tomorrow.
McDonald has been a visitor for one-off meetings in the past and has been discussed as a possible stable rider for Moore in the future, but is hoping to get a better feel for the nuts and bolts of Hong Kong racing while he is based at Sha Tin for the next two weeks.
'I'll have a better idea how everything works and how it would be to ride here on a more permanent basis,' said McDonald, who will fly out after riding in New Zealand today. He said one of the factors that may hold him back from a full-time place in the near future might be the infrequent racing.
'I'm only 20 years old and I'm enjoying riding at meetings every day or two, in New Zealand or when I'm in Australia, and I couldn't have more than 16 rides a week there,' McDonald said. 'On the plus side, I'm sure it would be good for my riding to be up against jockeys with different styles. John Moore has spoken to me about coming to Hong Kong but more along the lines of when I'm comfortable to do it than any particular timetable.'
And the timetable for Moore's most recent stable rider, Darren Beadman, seems to be stretching out to a far longer horizon after the jockey's latest MRI scan.
Beadman, who suffered brain injuries in a barrier trial fall in February, is organising himself to return permanently to Sydney in the next two weeks with his doctors now talking of a recovery timeline of 'maybe a year or two'.
'I'm no better and no worse than I was when they did the last MRI, that's the report,' said Beadman yesterday. 'I'll move back to Sydney and continue my rehabilitation there and keep working towards riding again. It's obvious now this is going to be a very long process, maybe even a year or two, they said.'
Times John Moore has won the trainers' premiership in Hong Kong