Pataca falters, but rival trainers happy with their charges
While it was three cheers for one John Moore-trained horse in the International Cup Trial, reigning Horse Of the Year Viva Pataca left more questions than answers after his battling seventh behind his stablemate.
Moore said he felt the horse had got too far out of the race, with too much to do in the run home, but jockey Darren Beadman put the situation in perspective and said the multiple Group One winner had not closed the race off in his usual fashion.
'Everywhere I went early, someone was pushing up inside me and I had to keep going back to avoid being wide,' said Beadman.
'But even allowing for getting back, I was disappointed. After following Unique Jewellery through the race, we never even got level with him and Jamesina came from behind us and ran past Viva at the finish.'
The first four placegetters from last season's Hong Kong Derby filled the first four placings, perhaps highlighting a changing of the guard at the top end of racing, and John Size was thrilled with the performance of Unique Jewellery in running second.
'When he won the Derby Trial, he looked like he could go on and be a nice horse but was probably coming to the end of it after he finished fourth in the Derby,' Size said.
'He's taken a couple of runs to get back to doing what he should be. He has had a bit more speed in the races lately and that suits him because he can go to sleep and finish off. He was up against it at the ratings today but he showed what he's capable of and he'll go to the Hong Kong Cup now.'
Mr Medici was his usual honest self in nudging Thumbs Up out of third, but Brett Prebble said he would talk to Danny Shum Chap-shing about putting blinkers on the latter.
'He was a clear second just after the line but disappointed me just a little bit because he wasn't that comfortable when he had horses around him,' Prebble said.
'He was a bit reluctant to stretch out and we might have to look at the blinkers - that could be the ace up our sleeve on international day.'
Trainer David Ferraris said he intends to throw in a late entry for Jamesina in the Hong Kong Cup after the gelding finished off strongly into fifth.
'I'm sure he's an underrated horse. He's very genuine and I think he deserves a chance after that effort,' he said.
Boom galloper Young Elite travelled comfortably in the run to the home turn and looked a serious chance on straightening, but punctured quickly and the stewards reported the gelding had suffered a bleeding attack.