Moore over the moon with his charges
There's skill, there's luck and then there's just serendipity, as John Moore discovered when he scored his first Class Five win of the season with Invictus.
Moore missed out with Dan Excel finishing second in the Centenary Vase, but he managed a double and was thrilled with the first-up run of BMW Hong Kong Derby hope Poetic Justice in the seventh race.
The former Michael Stoute-trained four-year-old settled near the tail of the field from the outside draw and the slow pace was hardly conducive to run-on horses, but Poetic Justice charged home for fifth in one of the day's hottest sectional times.
"That's real deal stuff that - he was big in the enclosure and I thought he had a lot of scope for improvement but he's run a race like that," Moore said, and compared him with Akeed Mofeed, the horse generally touted as the one to beat on Derby day. "To me, with the condition he was carrying, that was as good as Akeed Mofeed's run the other day. I don't think Sir Michael was that pleased about losing this horse. We tried to buy him before his last run and the answer was a flat-out no, but then he disappointed them a little by not winning a Listed race at his last run and he became buyable."
That's a story which has played out previously with Moore-trained Derby winners Viva Pataca and Collection and a thought for the future, with another Derby possible Sunny Ying, and Invictus in the Class Five all-weather mile.
Weichong Marwing was aboard both horses and must have got a shock coming to the turn on Invictus, whose lead-up preparation had been in 1,000m races, when he found the horse travelling strongly.
"He was thinking 'how far?' on the corner, he was travelling that well. He's been one-paced in the short sprint races and I was really thinking more along lines of stepping up to 1,200m at the Valley," said Moore, who has won only one Class Five in each of the last two seasons. "I threw him in not thinking he'd get a run in this, so it's a bit of a surprise, but he was a lot more comfortable in the longer race, not having to be pushed along. So I guess we'll look for another dirt 1,650m for him. It's not often I have a Class Five runner - I'm usually having lunch - but the way he won and his time was faster the Class Four, so he could win in that grade." Sunny Ying had run a fine race second-up and improved on that to win over 1,800m, but the trainer credited the ride.
"That was a gem, the best ride anyone has produced on one of mine this season," Moore said. "Sunny Ying might not have the class of my other Derby four-year-olds but he will stay all day. Like Poetic Justice, he'll go to the Classic Cup and try to make his way into the Derby."