John Size retook the mantle as leading trainer yesterday but John Moore had no qualms about handing it over, keeping his regular role as the major feature-race trainer with victories in the day's two cup events and grabbing an overdue win with Silver Grecian almost a year to the day since his first.
On the final day of last season, Silver Grecian won the Sha Tin Mile Trophy, a Class One he could have run in again yesterday, but Moore preferred to run him down in the easier Class Two HK Racehorse Owners' Association Trophy (1,400m) where he beat stablemate Majestic Falcon, and Moore still won the Mile Trophy with Dan Excel (Tim Clark).
'You know, he's been a disappointing horse,' said Moore, who had thought enough of Silver Grecian to run him in Group One races in Melbourne late last year without success, and the grey has continued to disappoint all season, despite a number of placings.
'When we bought him, I thought he would make a top-class miler and he just hasn't lived up to that. He's had a few problems with blood in the trachea and that sort of thing but basically he has been disappointing. He obviously likes this time of year though and I'm pleased that we did get a win with him because that's the first we've got for his owner, Mr Siu [Pak-kwan] this season.
'We did win one with Destined For Glory, who is another by another member of his family, but with Irian not winning, we are a bit behind where I'd like to be with wins for him because he is a terrific owner and puts plenty of money into the game.'
Jockey Brett Prebble said the key to Silver Grecian might be to accept his shortcomings and ride him to suit the racehorse he is, not the galloper he might be. 'In the mornings, he'd work with anything, just outstanding,' he explained. 'But if you ride him like a nice horse and get him out and around them, he gets awkward and he won't go and do the job for you. Get him stuck in among them, like he was today and like he was when Darren Beadman won on him last year, he races better.'
Moore reckoned he would be nearly bang on the prize money tally of last season, banking about HK$106 million for his owners, and he looks like one of the major beneficiaries of the prize money rises announced last week. 'I reckon I'll be probably within HK$20,000 of last year's tally, so that's great and hopefully we'll make that HK$110 million next year with the extra stakes money,' he said. 'With the horses that we have already, and the ones we'll buy going into next season, I'm very confident we can do that.'
Tim Clark bookended the final day's racing and made no mistake with the recently-gelded Dan Excel.
'I'm sure the gelding has helped, because he's a horse that always presented in the yard like he was not hard fit. He always looked like a mallee bull, like he was carrying a few pounds more than necessary and he has dropped 10 to 15 pounds with gelding,' he said. 'He was very well handicapped today, and Tim gave him the ride he needs. The horse can overrace a bit and ridden like that today, he settled and I think he can make into a pretty good miler to 1,800m horse for us. His owner, David Boehm, spends plenty on his horses, so it's great to see these types of owners getting these results.'
John Moore is hoping to earn this amount next season with the increased stakes money