Moore sets sights on the big races
Trainer John Moore didn't want to talk about championships despite slashing John Size's lead in half with a four-timer at Sha Tin but did declare he expects 'to train more winners than in any season in my career'.
Size had led by a significant margin during January but went into the meeting nine in front, ended it just five ahead.
'I've said before, my focus is on prize money. I've set myself a goal of $70 million in stakes and that's about $48 million after today and I think I'm in the box seat with the major races coming up,' Moore said after maintaining his title as 'griffin master' with Inspiration (Douglas Whyte) in the opener followed by Terraferma (Terry Wong Chi-wai), Able One and Viva Pataca (Christophe Soumillon).
'I don't really think about the championship. I doubt I can beat John Size at that, but I can tell you I think this year I'll train more winners than I've ever trained.'
Which makes for interesting reflection on the championship race, since Moore's highest tally was 58 in 1994-95 - which was also the most recent of his five trainers' title wins - and any season of 60 wins has historically been extremely competitive for the championship.
With David Hayes now back in Australia, Moore could take an iron grip on griffin racing and Lucky Unicorn's three-quarter brother, Inspiration, appropriately took the first such event for the season despite some erratic running at the finish.
'Griffin racing isn't the be all and end all for him, this is a horse with a future and we won't be giving him too much to do this season,' Moore said.
'I gave him a 1,000 metre trial against the older horses rather than using the 800m griffin trials because they get an extra 200m into them and you don't have to push them to get them as fit. He won well but we've been battling shin soreness with him so that was probably the reason he ran about.'
Three-year-old Able One also showed the best is yet to come when he made amends for a first-up defeat at the hands of Sparkling Star.
'He won his only start in Sydney and I thought he would win first-up here, too, but somehow Sparkling Star managed to do him,' Moore shook his head.
'But since then, he's taken great steps with his fitness and focus and won today right up to my expectations. I'll do with him what I've done with some nice horses this season, like Sunny Sing - not drawing comparisons between them but just saying we'll let him find his feet and go through the classes.'
The same cannot be said of Terraferma, but Moore gave credit to his former apprentice Terry Wong for a nice ride.
'Terraferma is as good as you saw today, a Class Four horse and no better, but Terry used the good gate and gave him an easy trip and with no weight he was able to do the rest,' Moore said.