John Moore hoping Able Friend makes a meal of Chairman's Trophy field
Sunday's Group Two an entrée for 'eating machine' with Royal Ascot a main course
Fresh from his Golden Shaheen triumph in Dubai, trainer John Moore returns to the domestic Group racing stage with "eating machine" Able Friend on Sunday as the first step in plans for more international glory.
Able Friend's black-type races so far have been against his own four-year-old group, but he will take on older horses in the Group Two Chairman's Trophy at Sha Tin with an eye to the Champions Mile on May 4 and, potentially, the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
"I wasn't comfortable with him going to the Champions Mile with seven weeks between runs - that's not the way to take on international Group One competition for Able Friend," Moore said
"He is such a big, gross horse. He will eat you out of house and home and puts condition on quickly, so he has to have this to make sure he is 100 per cent for the Champions Mile.
"Which is not to say he needs the run. I'm very confident about him in this race even though he isn't that well weighted against a horse like Helene Spirit, but to keep him ticking over the right way, he needs a race before the Champions Mile, which is still a month away and this was the only opportunity."
With Joao Moreira suspended, in-form Karis Teetan takes the reins and had the sit on Able Friend when he worked on the grass on Thursday. "When the horse knew he was going out to work on the turf, his attitude was 'let me at them' and he worked well, pulled up well and Karis said he is very fit," Moore said.
"These six-horse races can be tricky and tactical, but I expect Able Friend to cope and the mile is probably his ideal distance.
"It's a good test but he's an international Group One horse in the making with bigger and better things ahead. I have to talk to his owner, Dr Cornel Li [Fook-kwan], and the plans depend on him racing as we expect in this and then the Champions Mile, but I think he'd go to the Queen Anne a very competitive runner."
Unlike Able Friend, Moore's Derby winner Designs On Rome will head to his group One international assignment, the Audemars Piguet QE II Cup on April 27, with six weeks between his races.
"I thought about running Designs On Rome. Both of them were screwed down for the Derby of course, but they are different types of horses," he said.
"Designs On Rome really felt the hard Derby run and, for a few days after it, he wasn't quite himself. He needed some quiet time, a bit of rest and he doesn't put on condition the way Able Friend does so I think a 1,600m barrier trial will be enough to have Designs On Rome ready again for the QE II."
Meanwhile, freelance jockey Keith Yeung Ming-lun has not aggravated damage to the left collarbone he broke in December, but has still been ruled out of Happy Valley next Wednesday after scans showed tendon damage. He hopes to get the all-clear to return at Sha Tin on April 13.