Improving Double Moon can shine next season
Trainer Paul O'Sullivan's Double Moon continues to make progress with racing and was no exception in the Class Four Multiwinning Handicap (1,200m) at Happy Valley.
Double Moon was a smart trial winner for his previous trainer Andrew Scott in New Zealand, but was patiently brought along in his training after being gelded soon after his arrival on September 11. He never made much of an impression in his debut on the all-weather track in May, but showed the benefit of the run with a closing eighth behind Novel Start over the Valley 1,200m on a good-to-yielding track last month.
Back to the same course and distance following some improved trackwork, the three-year-old - at 66-1 odds for Tim Clark - jumped well from gate two to settle midfield, was tight between runners but, once turning for home, unleashed another good kick to to finish sixth - 33/4 lengths behind winner Heco Rider.
It wasn't a performance that cries out as a sure-fire winner when he next appears, but with the summer break and more racing experience, he should be able to make his mark over 1,400m to 1,800m.
The New Zealand-bred is the first local progeny of stallion Royal Gem, who was a four-time winner in the US, including the Group Three Bay Meadows Derby over 1,800m on the turf. Royal Gem is a son of Royal Academy, who is represented by one of the legends of local racing - middle-distance performer Bullish Luck.
His dam, Volksraad mare Volksetta, was unraced and hasn't had any other starts from two other foals but is a half-sister to three winners, including Galactic Storm (2,000m), Black Magic (1,500m) and King Solomon (2,220m), and is also from the family of Balmuse - a 2005 champion weight-for-age performer in New Zealand while racking up 15 career wins up to 2,200m; and Kaapstad Way - nine-time winner from 1,300m to 2,000m.
Owners Queenie Siu Fun-kou and Lau Kwok-man never got to enjoy a moment in the sun with their only other galloper in Magic Kitchen, but should be able to gain some satisfaction with Double Moon.