Legends of the turf in Macau reunion

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 March, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 March, 1994, 12:00am

LESTER Piggott and George Moore on one racetrack will evoke memories of a golden era in British racing back in the mid-1960s - but that's the way it will be at Taipa racecourse in Macau today.

Piggott, the 58-year-old happy wanderer of the world's racecourses, samples the delights of Taipa racing for the first time and Moore, retired in Queensland after a decade and a half of total success as a Hong Kong trainer, is a guest of the Macau JockeyClub.

Legendary riders both - with Moore capping his magnificent career in the saddle with a tremendous training stint in Hong Kong - they would have a few memories over which to reminisce.

Moore rode for one incredible year in England in 1967. He got the chance when Piggott opted to go freelance leaving the Warren Place stables of Sir Noel Murless who promptly responded to the shock move by bringing in Moore from the other end of the world.

It only lasted 12 months, but what a year it was. Moore capped it by winning the Derby on Royal Palace having earlier tasted Classic success on Fleet in the 1,000 Guineas.

It's all history now, of course, but these two giants of the turf will meet today on what is definitely one of world racing's outposts, Macau.

But full marks to the MJC for doing their utmost to put on a day to remember and with Piggott riding for the first time, a competitive Derby, a lucky draw and a full programme of racing, there should be no lack of public support.

The MJC faithfully follows their world-renowned counterparts, the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club, in virtually everything they do and putting on a good show seems to be one of the better things they do.

The Derby is also run over 1,800 metres - further slavish devotion to Hong Kong - and is worth $1.2 million which is very sizeable by Macau standards.

Piggott's chance of winning the Classic on the Kenny Man-trained Surplus do not appear overly high as the gelding has been seen largely in longer sprints and would definitely be doubtful over the 1,800-metre trip on his exposed form.

Former Hong Kong champion trainer Allan Chan provides the likely favourite in Scan View whose lead-up efforts suggest he is on course for a win in the Classic.

Veteran New Zealand rider Alwyn Tweedie partners Scan View and the pair look certain to reach the frame at least.

Topweight Happy Wonderland, with Colin Dean up, is the only Class One horse in the field but he could also be questionable at the distance. The other Charles Leck runner in the race is Perfect Guest, partnered by Declan Murphy and not without a squeak.