Double joy as Moore's hunch proves correct
After Master Gunner snapped a run of outs for John Moore, the trainer had 'a feeling in his water' he was in for a big day and the intuition proved correct when Cosmic Boom, a horse he described as a 'big baby', exploded away to win a Class Four in style.
Master Gunner caused the boil-over of the card when a tactically superb ride from Vincent Ho Chak-yiu helped lower the boom on the day's shortest-priced favourite Classic Jewellery, but the win of the day belonged to Cosmic Boom.
It was the raw three-year-old's first try beyond 1,000m after three top four efforts up the straight, where he had wanted to go too hard, and yesterday he appeared a more settled individual.
Jockey Jeff Lloyd went to the front and dictated to another John Size-trained favourite O'Halo, who had dead-heated with Cosmic Boom last start, and turned on the afterburners at the 300m to dash away and score by 33/4 lengths.
'We couldn't see a lot of speed in the race and we've done a lot of work on him in the morning, trying to get him to be more tractable, so we thought we could lead,' said Moore.
'He raced greenly in front, but the lead he had paid dividends and he got to the line strongly.'
Cosmic Boom is a son of Commands, who broke the Australian record for most individual winners last season. 'We love the breed and we've had a lot of success with them,' Moore said. 'He is still a very big baby, with a future, and he is still very green . It's good to get a win out of a horse that is not even there yet. To watch him walk around the paddock, he looks like a big yearling.
'They're [Commands] bread-and-butter horses and he didn't cost a lot to buy him.'
Not a lot of money was A$225,000 (HK$1.87 million) at the 2010 Magic Millions Yearling Sales, and with the horse's full brother placed at Group Three level in Australia, it seems a moderate outlay, given the nature of the win.
Lloyd said the horse felt like he had 'a lot to learn'.
'Even on the turn he was green and hanging out,' he said. 'I think he has been racing a bit keen up the straight, but taking him around the turn he switched off completely.
'He has plenty of ability but you'll only see all of it in a few months.'
Moore said the horse's relative immaturity will see him kept at the sprint trips for now, but Lloyd could foresee him getting further.
'Seven furlongs won't be a problem,' he said.
Master Gunner was sent around unwanted at $313.50 in a Class Three (1,400m), with punters all over Size's Classic Jewellery, but the hot-pot was left stranded three deep after jumping the widest in the 10-horse field for Douglas Whyte. Ho got inside him from barrier nine and grabbed the coveted one-off run.
Neil Callan was given a two-meeting suspension for his ride on the unplaced Percy Jackson in Master Gunner's race.
Callan will miss February 22 and 26 and return at Happy Valley on 29th - the final meeting before his contract expires.