Moore quinella as Designs on Rome edges out Able Friend in Hong Kong Derby
The BMW Hong Kong Derby had been billed as a match race for weeks - and it didn't disappoint, even if an upset looked a distinct possibility with 200m to go.
In the end, John Moore saddled up the quinella in the 2,000m feature, with Designs on Rome (Tommy Berry) defeating Able Friend (Joao Moreira) by a half-length. Michael Chang's Dibayani (Zac Purton) was a further half-length away in third, after matching motors with Designs on Rome as they swept to the lead, and this trio raced almost six lengths clear of the rest of the field - Mr Gnocchi and Flame Hero best of the chasers.
Moore was naturally thrilled to quinella the race that every owner wants to win, but he was more excited about the future for both Designs on Rome and Able Friend.
“Designs On Rome looks to have a serious future,” he said. “As I’ve said before, he has international Group One written all over him and the way he did it today he proved he can make quite a few runs - he can keep kicking, and he’s got the desire to really kick hard. When Able Friend came up on his inside, he fought back gamely and that’s a good horse."
"We’ll bring Able Friend back for the Champions Mile and Designs On Rome will come back for the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup. My two fellas are world class and they’ll go on to the world stage, eventually.”
In the day's other Group One, the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup (1,400m), Richard Gibson's Gold-Fun won his second race at the highest level under Douglas Whyte, holding off Dan Excel (Neil Callan) and Charles The Great (James McDonald).