Moore sets up Pataca for Breeders' Cup tilt

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 September, 2007, 12:00am

Viva Pataca is set to become Hong Kong's first Breeders' Cup runner next month after trainer John Moore received the go-ahead for a trip to the United States late yesterday from the horse's owner, casino tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun.

'I've spoken to Dr Ho and he has left it in my hands - if I believe that it's the right thing for the horse then the trip has his approval,' Moore said last night.

Moore last week aborted a planned assault on Australia's Cox Plate for the multiple Group One winner in the wake of the equine influenza outbreak that has crippled racing in large parts of that country.

But Moore has now retargeted the five-year-old for the US$3 million John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (2,400m) run at Monmouth Park, New Jersey, on the same day as the Cox Plate.

The mission will hand both Moore and Viva Pataca their sternest challenges yet, with the ultra-tight racetrack and a difficult preparation schedule.

'Viva Pataca will run here first-up in the National Day Cup on October 1, then my plan is to leave Hong Kong with him on October 20 and I'm speaking to International Racehorse Transport about a direct flight into New York,' Moore said. 'He will only have the one lead-up race over 1,400m because really that is all the Hong Kong programming allows me - we don't have any other options. The idea is to go there, race and be back in Hong Kong with a turnaround of 10 days, which will give him a good enough break between that trip and the international races here on December 9.'

Monmouth Park has a 1,600m main dirt track but the turf course is inside it and measures just 1,400m around - very similar to the dimensions of Happy Valley but in a more conventional oval shape. 'I haven't been to Monmouth Park but yes I believe it is quite tight,' Moore said.