Viva Pataca in step for Sha Tin glory
Hong Kong's highest earning galloper, Viva Pataca, can join River Verdon as a four-time winner of the Group One Champions & Chater Cup (2,400m) at Sha Tin tomorrow - and add another big race to trainer John Moore's and jockey Darren Beadman's tally.
Despite Viva Pataca winning three of the past four editions of the cup, stable rider Beadman is chasing his first win in the event after Mick Kinane (2006, 2007) and Weichong Marwing (2009) piloted the grand campaigner to his previous wins.
'The way he has been working and the way he came out of his last win in the QEII Cup has been very encouraging,' Beadman said. 'Viva's got a real swing in his step, and I'm really looking forward to Sunday.'
Beadman is not concerned by the small field or a potential lack of pace in the event and thinks it may be to Viva Pataca's advantage.
'Sometimes seven-horse fields can produce more tactical races, but there is also less traffic to worry about and I still think the race will be run at a genuine tempo.
'He's competed against all bar King Dancer. On form I think you have to say that Super Satin is going to be the hardest to beat as he's been competitive and consistent all season - but you have to respect Mr Medici's chances too, with Gerald Mosse coming all the way to ride him,' Beadman said.
Moore is in England ensuring that his star sprinter, Happy Zero, had travelled and settled in, before his attempt at the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot next month.
The stable has had a terrific run of winners, big and small, over the last month and Moore is steadily whittling away at John Size's premiership lead.
'[Moore] is only seven wins behind on the trainer's premiership and there are a few runners with plenty of endurance left,' Beadman said.
'We'll just keep trying to win races for our owners and if a premiership win for the stable is meant to be, then it's meant to be.'
Moore has won 52 races and HK$87 million in stakes-money for his owners this year, leading in 15 winners from the last 10 meetings.