Military Attack has the sprint to overcome odds, says Moore
Trainer John Moore says Horse of the Year can return in style over a mile in Sha Tin Trophy
There are many reasons John Moore feels Horse of the Year Military Attack is vulnerable in Sunday's Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy, but being able to produce a race-winning sprint over a mile is not one of them.
Military Attack will be chasing his fifth straight victory in the Group Two handicap, but has not raced in more than five months and will carry top weight of 133 pounds in a race where Moore has his usual strong hand, saddling up four runners.
All of Military Attack's wins were over 1,800m or farther last term, capped by a barnstorming victory in the Group One Singapore Airlines International Cup (2,000m) at Kranji, but the horse has won over a mile at Sha Tin and Moore said the five-year-old could do it again.
"Top horses can do it - it's because they are such competitors," Moore said. "They can do it fresh over shorter distances and work their way up to getting over more ground.
"He will take a lot of improvement from the race fitness wise, even though he doesn't carry a lot of middle. He is still going to be very competitive, especially from a good gate.
"He really announced himself as a quality horse in his first season here when he flew home from last over a mile, set an almost impossible task, and won as favourite."
Moore stressed this was only the first step of a meticulously planned preparation that will first peak on international day in December, and then continue through to Dubai for the world's richest race - the Dubai World Cup in March - and hopefully end with a triumphant return to Singapore.
"Grand final day is December 8 - our target is the Hong Kong Cup and I'm sure we are going to have him right when we get to that race," Moore said.
The trainer also warned of the "Moore roughie" striking, giving Dan Excel (Weichong Marwing) and Dominant (Joao Moreira) knockout hopes, with Xtension (Neil Callan) requiring a big form turnaround.
"Dan Excel was second to Military Attack in Singapore and is obviously the big threat here," Moore said.
"He had a setback in his preparation with an elevated temperature and that caused him to miss the National Day Cup earlier this month.
"But this is his best trip. He is on his way to the Hong Kong Mile and he will be in the mix, even though he is up in the weights now. I think these top ones have an edge on the lightweights."
Moore singled out Dominant for special mention, a spirited trial effort giving an indication he could run a cheeky race.
"Dominant is the dark horse of the team. Obviously, this is well short of his target distance, that being 2,400m of the Hong Kong Vase. He might find the pace too quick early, but he will be getting home," he said.