Viva Pataca hoping to right wrongs in Cup

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 December, 2008, 12:00am

Confidence doesn't come much stronger than John Moore's description of Viva Pataca as 'just bloody wonderful' as the gelding attempts to put right a wrong in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup.

There is a sense of unfinished business for the six-year-old after his unlucky second to Ramonti as hot favourite last year, and trainer Moore (pictured) remains adamant Viva Pataca is better than ever.

'Last year he should have won but it was just a very good tactical ride by Frankie Dettori that cost him the race,' Moore (pictured) said.

'This time we're going in unbeaten this season but, with due respect to the local horses, he didn't beat anything like he meets on Sunday - a Breeders' Cup runner-up, Lush Lashes and the rest - he meets world-class horses on Sunday.

'He's going in fully tuned but I don't want to take anything for granted or go in with too high an expectation because you can come undone.' Viva Pataca's feet have been a problem for Moore at times, but he said they are not an issue now.

'We found some liniments that make his feet grow out better, there's no sign of any quarter cracks, his shoeing has been better and that just sums up the condition he's in - just bloody wonderful,' he said.

Though Viva Pataca's unsuccessful assault on the Dubai Sheema Classic last season was highlighted as the underlying reason for defeats on his return, Moore remains keen to tackle the desert race again. 'He's thriving now and the trip to Dubai had no lasting effect, but at the time it did take the edge off him and he wasn't as good as he had been earlier in the season,' Moore said.

'I would love to give Dubai another go, but I would have to seek permission from his owner, Stanley Ho [Hung-sun].

'There is the chance it could jade him again for races like the QE II and Champions & Chater.

'But if he has won a race like this it might be easier to convince Dr Ho.'

Viva forever

John Moore is hoping Viva Pataca can go one better this year, with his super stayer having notched (HK$) in earnings: 55m