Majestic Falcon lands at right time
The errant John Moore-trained five-year-old, Majestic Falcon, will attempt to become the third horse to do the interport double later this season, after doing his level best to throw away the Hong Kong Macau Trophy (1,400m) yesterday.
Moore claimed his second interport race - but passed the post in front for the first time - when Majestic Falcon (Jeff Lloyd) relished the solid tempo and arrived in the shadows of the post to claim the John Size pair of Fulfil A Wish (Keith Yeung Ming-lun) and Voile Rouge (Tim Clark).
'But he was doing his best to throw it away,' said Lloyd, who was on one rein coming to the line as Majestic Falcon laid in but still managed to put a head margin in his favour over Fulfil A Wish, who also looked to be giving Yeung a few difficulties in keeping him straight.
'When I won on him before, we came through between horses and Majestic Falcon went pretty straight. Maybe it all just caught him by surprise that day as he burst through. Today, out in the centre, he was fine for a while as he was coming to gather the leading horses in, but then he started his antics and nearly cost himself the race.'
Moore (pictured) claimed a Hong Kong Macau Trophy five years ago with Tiber, but not until some time after the event, as the winner on the day, Crown's Master, was disqualified with a positive swab.
So Crown's Master winning the return leg in Macau, as he did, doesn't count as doing the double and that feat still belongs only to inaugural winner Crown's Gift from Macau, and Hong Kong's Helene Pillaging, but it's something Moore hopes to change.
'Majestic Falcon's owner is involved with the Jockey Club in Macau and he asked me to go there with the horse if at all possible so that will be his aim,' Moore said. 'There was always going to be pace today with Viva Pronto and Crown Witness in the race and this horse relishes the speed on.
'He isn't an easy ride - as he showed today - but at least we've been able to keep the money in Hong Kong this time. I don't think the extra 100m of the return race in Macau will trouble him, so provided he comes through this well and is in good shape when we get that to that time, there's no reason he won't go over to Taipa.'
The first prize will push Majestic Falcon past the HK$3 million mark in earnings and close to triple figures in the ratings and the latter proposition is where Moore does have a few concerns. 'I think around 100 is as good as he is, ratings-wise, he isn't any better than that,' Moore said. 'So he's going to become difficult to win with and these sorts of races, these feature handicaps, are probably going to be his only opportunities.'
The home-ground win gave Hong Kong a narrow edge in the 17 interport races run to date, with the score now nine to eight. Many expected them to be a present for the Hong Kong runners when the races began, but the 15-pound rating allowance afforded the visitors, and their own home-ground advantage at Taipa in the other leg, has kept the Macau horses in the fight.
The day's feature gave Moore and Lloyd a double on the day after winning with debutant Sterling City in the second event.