Captain Courageous is 'all heart'
A big heart and a special workout in blinkers last week were probably the difference between winning and losing the Panasonic Cup (1,400m) yesterday for Captain Sweet, whose climb to stardom is giving trainer John Moore a few headaches.
Still looking above himself at his second run for the season, Captain Sweet (Darren Beadman) joined in with real purpose at the 200m but looked to labour once he got to the front and ran out of fitness. Under 132 pounds, he staved off the late finish of Noble Alpha to scramble in by a short head, but Moore admitted he may have to drop Captain Sweet back in distance if he is to run in any international race on December 11.
'Bill Nader has asked me which race we would want to go for with Captain Sweet if he was selected and it is a bit of a problem,' Moore said. 'I'd love to get him out to a mile because I think it would suit him, but with the amount of work we can get into him, 1,200m is probably the better option. He isn't 100 per cent because he has had setbacks with his feet and it is hard to get gallops into him and get him properly fit.
'What he has done today he did because he is so genuine and such a fighter - I'd love to have a stable full of horses like Captain Sweet. He was going to be beaten but he just refused. He gave his all and one thing I can tell you is that he will be improved when he runs again.'
Moore plans to bring Captain Sweet back in two weeks for the Chevalier Cup at the same distance before deciding where he should go with the four-year-old, whose rating probably makes him only borderline to get into the home team for the international events in any case.
Beadman said the win was 'all heart' but that Captain Sweet was not exactly poetry in motion for a jockey.
'He has a really scratchy action and needs to warm up before he runs or gallops - I remember one of his early races, he felt like he was going to break down under me but that's just his action,' Beadman said.
'What he does have is great attitude and he dug deep today even though he was out of petrol. He saves himself for when he needs to put in, even in trackwork, and that's why we put the blinkers on him during the week for his work even though he doesn't wear them race day. He does nothing working by himself but, with the blinkers on, he went like a rocket and put more into it, and that was the difference today.'
While Moore was pondering how to get Captain Sweet to be an international winner, he was left lamenting for connections of lesser stablemate Kyara (Jeff Lloyd), who looked a good thing beaten finishing fifth after being blocked for clear running down the final 200m.
'Jeff said Kyara wasn't too brave going for a gap between the horses in front of him but he didn't get much room and might have made it pretty interesting with Captain Sweet if he had got clear,' Moore said.
They might have a rematch in the Chevalier Cup, along with third-placed Sweet Orange (Tye Angland), but trainer Michael Chang Chun-wai said runner-up Noble Alpha is headed in a different direction.
'It was a really good run but I'm thinking he needs 1,600m now,' he said.
The scintillating final sectional Captain Sweet - who has registered six wins from 10 runs - clocked