Xtension heads for Ascot to cement stallion credentials
John Moore is headed back to Royal Ascot in June to fulfil a wish for owner Steven Lo Kit-sing after Xtension broke through in style to make his first Hong Kong win the Group One BMW Champions Mile yesterday.
'He's entered for the Queen Anne at Ascot and I know that taking on horses like Goldikova and Canford Cliffs there is another step up from this today but Steven said he would love to go,' Moore said in the afterglow of his third Champions Mile victory following a brilliant Darren Beadman ride.
'It's the aura of the event that we want to participate in and I think Xtension is going to prove a solid horse on the Group One world stage. He may be a better horse next season when he has had a little more time here but, if he can hold this level for Ascot, he is a place chance.'
Moore confirmed that stablemate Sunny King, ninth yesterday, would accompany Xtension with the Golden Jubilee Stakes his mission, the race in which the Moore-trained Happy Zero failed and was injured last year.
Victory, or even a placing, at Royal Ascot would further advance the cause of Xtension as a stallion proposition, something he definitely started working on yesterday.
'I don't know if he has the right pedigree for a stallion but he is a lovely horse and has a great temperament, and the win today will do his confidence the world of good,' said Beadman.
The significant foreign presence again failed to take the major end of the Champions Mile but the raiders were far from disappointing, with the Mike de Kock-trained Musir beaten just over half a length in third and Presvis' trainer, Luca Cumani, not unhappy with his sixth placing after finding the race too short, and he will head on to Singapore next month.
The curiosity of a holiday Monday meeting and the splitting of the Champions Mile and QE II Cup this year gave Jockey Club officials some headaches in making fair comparison on the turnover front, but nobody was upset with HK$1.036 billion once Jockey Challenge betting was included.
'It's difficult to make a proper comparison with last year, especially with 11 races, but my feeling is that it was somewhere around the 5 or 6 per cent increase that we have been getting this season,' chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said.
But what was clearly pleasing for the club was a rise in the betting interest on the Champions Mile itself, from HK$100 million last year to HK$117 million this year, after international events not long ago were considered a turnover issue.
'I think that it shows our strategy is correct,' Engelbrecht-Bresges said. 'Our simulcasts from overseas have made our customers more familiar with the horses. The turnover on those simulcasts is rising and now we see people are better able to assess our international races as a result.
'We have been able to develop our international races to the point where they are no longer turnover losers. Unfortunately, the step in our strategy that is missing is to participate in commingling, but we are unable to do that as the government has been very slow to respond.'