George Moore, giant of HK scene, dies at 84

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 January, 2008, 12:00am

George Moore, the Australian Hall of Fame jockey who went on to become 11 times champion trainer of Hong Kong, died on Tuesday night in Sydney after several years of ill health. He was 84.

Two years ago, Moore lost his right leg as diabetes began to ravage his body and his second son, Macau trainer Gary Moore, said late last year the former great was also battling against the effects of Alzheimer's disease.

Elder son, top Hong Kong trainer John Moore, said yesterday the family thought it would lose its iconic figurehead two weeks ago but, in true Moore style, George rallied for one final round.

'That was typical of his character, he never wanted to give up, never wanted to admit defeat,' John said. 'But in the end, his body has simply succumbed to the effects of old age.'

George Moore is remembered as the man who gave Hong Kong racing credibility when it first turned professional in 1972.

Coming off a colourful amateur era that had been beset with scandals, some serious international racing personalities were required to take root in Hong Kong to give the new-look racing industry some substance, and the Jockey Club could not have found anyone more substantial than Moore.

Apart from his historic, record-breaking deeds as a jockey in Australia, Moore had ventured to Europe, where his rare horsemanship met rewards at the highest level, winning the 1967 Epsom Derby on Royal Palace and the 1959 Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe on Saint Crespin.

Moore's 11 Hong Kong training championships were achieved from just 13 seasons. He retired at the end of the 1984-85 term, with John taking over the stable and winning his maiden title as premier trainer in his first year.

George Moore trained the winner of most feature races, with perhaps the greatest symbol of his success being his five trophies for winning the Group One Champions & Chater Cup. In 1979-80, he set a record of 87 wins in a season, which stood for 25 years until lowered by Tony Cruz (91) in the 2004-05 season.

John Moore said a public funeral would be held in Sydney, probably late next week.