Pataca to head Down Under, chasing a dream for trainer John Moore
Trainer John Moore has declared all systems go for star galloper Viva Pataca as the four-time Group One winner prepares to leave for a tilt at the W.S. Cox Plate in Melbourne.
Moore, chasing a dream to win a Group One in Australia, will give Viva Pataca three chances to do that - including Australia's racing championship, with prize money of more than HK$20 million, on October 27.
Viva Macau, also owned by Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun, will be Viva Pataca's travel companion on Sunday, aimed at the longer Caulfield and Melbourne cups.
'Viva Pataca has had a minor hoof thing but it won't affect his programme and I'm very happy with both horses. This is the strongest hand I have ever gone away with,' Moore said. 'And neither would mind if they happened to get some of the wet weather that can happen that time of year in Melbourne.'
Moore plans to run Viva Pataca in the Underwood Stakes, 1,800m, on September 22 and the Turnbull Stakes, 2,000m, on October 6 before the Cox Plate.
'Michael Kinane will ride him at Moonee Valley and said he'd go anywhere to ride the horse, but I'm not sure what his commitments are on the other days,' Moore said. 'I'm sure I won't have any trouble finding a rider.'
Viva Pataca is at 12-1 in early Cox Plate markets and 25-1 for both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
'He is entered for the cups, but won't run,' Moore said. 'It would be too much to ask to run in the Melbourne Cup then come back here for the internationals. But if Viva Macau shapes up, the Melbourne Cup might be a good option.'
Viva Macau will run first-up over 1,400m on September 22.
Viva Pataca's campaign is similar to Super Kid's path two years ago when narrowly beaten twice in Group Ones before disappointing in the Cox Plate when he appeared to train off. Moore had a similar disappointment with Able Choice several seasons ago.
'They just seemed to drop away in the foreign environment, but there was no outward indication. That's the thing that we can't know, but if Viva Pataca holds form he'll be a great chance,' Moore said.
Elsewhere, Paul O'Sullivan has quashed suggestions rising star Medic Power might also be headed for Melbourne. Jockey Brett Prebble recently told the Australian media he would try to convince O'Sullivan to make the trip with the four-year-old and compared him more than favourably with Silent Witness.