Numbers add up to Zero for Moore
Big-race dominator John Moore has weight of numbers on his side in tomorrow's Group Two Cathay Pacific International Sprint Trial but was keeping his confidence in check with boom sprinter Happy Zero.
'I know Sacred Kingdom's flying and he's a world champion, so this is a big moment for Happy Zero,' he said. 'This is the classic confrontation of the established champ against the new kid on the block. He's not a youngster because he's a five-year-old, but he hasn't had a lot of racing yet. I think he's a star in the making but he still has it all to do, starting with this race.'
Moore (pictured) is four-handed in the race, with Happy Zero, last year's Hong Kong Sprint winner Inspiration, One World and Dim Sum, but nominated Happy Zero as the stable's best chance after his freakish first-up 1,000m win that took his record to six wins in seven starts.
'As always, Inspiration is there to pick up any opportunity if Sacred Kingdom or Happy Zero - make any mistakes, Inspiration is in great form. His gallop on Tuesday was good and I'd say he is just about at his peak,' Moore said.
'However, I feel Happy Zero is the more talented of the pair and he is getting the five pounds off Inspiration, so that swings things his way. I haven't really squeezed him on the track - I haven't had to, he is so clean winded. You wouldn't have known he'd had a gallop after his exceptional work on Tuesday and he probably doesn't have much fitness improvement in him now either.'
Moore discounted the chances of Dim Sum, disadvantaged under the conditions by carrying the 128 pounds top weight with the other Group One winners, and said One World probably needed to find a little to compete with Happy Zero and Inspiration.
'He's honest, but I think he's in the wake of the other two,' he said.
No trainer has ever taken out the three International Trial events in the same season and, with the Cup Trial already in hand, Moore has distinct prospects of becoming the first handler to do so, saddling up Sunny King and Able One in a Mile Trial that is intriguing but overshadowed by the Sprint.
'The pace will be the interesting thing about the Mile - Egyptian Ra is the leader but he missed the start badly in his barrier trial last week and if he did that again it would make for a different race,' he said.
'Able One ran well first-up over 1,200m but probably does have a little bit of improvement in him yet for international day, while Sunny King is third-up and not going to get any fitter. If anything, he has shown he goes off the boil after a few runs because he's such a nervy sort of horse so this might be his best chance.'