Super six are all in with a Derby chance, says Moore

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 March, 2012, 12:00am


John Moore has a record six of the 14 runners in Sunday's Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby - but it could have been even more.

'If Packing Whiz hadn't got a temperature at the wrong time, he would have made the race too,' said the trainer (pictured).

Moore has made finding the 'right' Private Purchase (or previously raced) horses his aim every year and has led the prize-money tally in recent seasons as a result.

He said: 'I think we're the envy of everybody - to go out and shop so well in 2011 and to come up trumps like this with most of them.

'Six runners in the race and all six can win it. They aren't just here for the owner to come to the paddock and feel good about himself on Sunday.'

Moore's hand for the Derby tops David Hayes' five runners in 2000 - when his best placing was third to Keen Winner - or Brian Kan Ping-chee's five-handed assault in 1991, when fourth was his best result.

And Moore believes concentrating on Private Purchases and not Private Purchase Griffins (horses unraced before arriving here) is the key, even though he did get one PPG into the field, Smart Giant.

'By the time your PPG has won his way up from Class Four, he's had a rigorous campaign to get his rating up to even make the Derby field, and they might be over the top,' Moore explained. 'John Size has done it this year with two horses which began their careers here, but the concern is they might be levelling out, either in condition or rating.

'That's why I shop offshore for European three-year-old PPs. It's an easier task. They come with enough rating to get into the race and, if they acclimatise, you're a big chance.'

Moore admits this Derby will boil down to some luck in the running, but is confident one of his horses can win - even if he isn't too sure which.

'After they completed their work this morning, the jockeys who rode Military Attack and Dominant were the most bullish,' he said yesterday.

'Neil Callan said Dominant is as fit as we'll get him and he's confident he will be there. Jeff Lloyd rode Military Attack's gallop and thinks the horse can't miss the first three on that. But there is plenty of confidence in the others too.'

Moore said his Derby runners will form part of the nucleus of leading performers here. 'If we hadn't been able to buy them for the Derby, Dominant and Military Attack would be in Dubai preparing for the Duty Free.

'Whatever happens on Sunday, these PPs will improve further when they fully come to grips with the environment. That's healthy for the sport, to have decent young horses like this coming through to represent Hong Kong at international level.

'And this is where it all starts - it's with the Derby that they start to come to the fore.'