Moore extends lead with double as 'best start for twenty years' goes on
It was John Moore to the fore again at Happy Valley last night as he landed a double to stretch his trainers' championship lead in what he described as his 'best start for twenty years.'
Moore won with Rewarding Star and One World, both ridden by Darren Beadman, then paid credit to the Australian for his part in the stable's form.
'It's a team effort and everyone in the stable is working well but Darren is a very big part of that,' Moore said. 'Having a top jockey like him here, to work with the horses constantly in the mornings and not just to jump on and off them, it's making a huge difference in the results that we are getting from horses. I haven't had a start like this for twenty years and I see no reason why it shouldn't continue - I have some nice new horses coming in and everything in the stable is going the right way.'
One of the horses Moore was talking about might well be Rewarding Star, who had looked headed for a Class Five career at one stage, but he has benefitted from his lessons with Beadman during last season to come solid as a very consistent horse who will go to Class Three next time out.
'And I think he can win again in Class Three,' declared Moore. 'He's carried weight today and had to be used up because of the barrier early but ended up getting a good run. The key was him getting a breather during the middle of the race but he's so genuine now. He's out of a Zabeel mare so it should have been expected that he would strengthen up and get a bit better as he got older but he's certainly done that.'
One World was having his first, and possibly last, look at Happy Valley last night in winning the Cheung Fat Handicap, 1,200m.
'It was a gamble bringing him here and his prospects didn't look that good earlier tonight - he didn't travel down well at all,' Moore said. 'But he eventually settled down and, as Darren said after the race, One World is just a complete professional these days. Remember when he was a bit nervous as a young horse? Now he just relaxes and does everything right and he's a delight to train. But though he's won tonight, I'm in no hurry to bring him back here and there probably aren't many races for him here anyway on his rating.'
The same was true of Sight Winner (Douglas Whyte), who took the Po Leung Kuk Centenary Cup, 1,800m, despite the steadier of 133 pounds and he won't be back to the Valley anytime soon either.
'I actually think that bringing him here for the past two runs has done him no harm at all and brought him on a little bit as a racehorse,' said Size. 'He needed to mend his manners a bit to continue to be competitive and is settling better now.
'He got keen at 1800m at Sha Tin previously but it was late in the season and was probably at the end of it. Tonight he settled and was strong at the finish but he goes to that difficult area in the ratings towards 110 and that's it for Happy Valley because there are no races here for him.'
There will be races for Caspar Fownes-trained Ocean Wide (Mark du Plessis) though with the lightly-raced sprinter making it two out of three for the season in the sixth and doing it with some comfort.
'It's funny, he's led all three runs this season and gone well but I think when he gets some cover you'll see an even better turn of foot than he's showing now,' du Plessis. 'The way the races have worked out so far he's had to lead but that isn't ideal.'
Eddie Lai Wai-ming (Kingston Marble) and Thomas Yeung Kai-tong (Wei Hai Invincible) both landed wins on the card - and suspensions.
Lai was demoted from second to fourth in the opening race after losing a protest and was handed a three-day ban and $25,000 fine for the same incident and will be out after the meeting on November 19. Yeung begins a two-day suspension today and got another one for good measure plus a $10,000 fine for causing inteference coming across to lead in race five.