Happy Zero to take different route for glory
Trainer John Moore officially opened a pathway to the HK$16 million Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile yesterday for Happy Zero by lodging a late entry with the Jockey Club.
Japanese mare Queen Spumante, an upset winner of the Group One Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup over 2,200m in Kyoto last week, was also added to the Hong Kong Cup as the only other supplementary entry ahead of tomorrow's announcement of the invited runners for the four international races on December 13.
With a decision pending on whether Inspiration will take a rest after finishing the Sprint Trial with blood in his throat, a switch to the Mile for Happy Zero will likely leave Moore with One World as his Sprint chance after the five-year-old flashed into fifth behind his stablemate on Sunday. 'I think when the video watchers have a look back at the Sprint Trial, they'll see that One World was the run of the race, aside from Happy Zero,' Moore said.
'He didn't have a totally clear run and closed off faster than anything in the race.
'If the club gives him his place in the Hong Kong Sprint, and we can get him to hold a position just a bit closer than in the Trial, then he can be competitive.'
Moore was not the only trainer to take some confidence from the Sprint Trial, with Derek Cruz (Joy And Fun) and Tony Cruz (Medic Power) both believing their runners had been unlucky.
'Unfortunately, Joy And Fun is a 1,400m horse and doesn't quite get the mile in the top company but switching him back to the 1,200m for the Sprint, I hope he'll get his invitation and a chance at a big international race,' said Derek Cruz.
'In the Trial, Brett Doyle was stuck behind runners down the straight and I think if he had a clear run he would have run a clear second.'
Medic Power was also luckless from gate 11 before finishing in fourth and Tony Cruz, a dual Hong Kong Sprint winner with Silent Witness, said he expected the six-year-old to be competitive on the big day.
'He was the only horse in the race to have to race wide and he was still very close at the finish,' he said. 'With a better draw, he would have beaten everyone except the winner. Medic Power has beaten Sacred Kingdom before and I really believe he can win the Sprint with better luck.'
Cruz added he expected more from Egyptian Ra in the Hong Kong Mile next month after his fifth in the Mile Trial.
'It's well known he had a few foot problems leading up to this race and wasn't 100 per cent, but if he pulls up clean, I think he'll be spot on for international day,' he said.