John Moore ate Japanese for afternoon tea at Sha Tin then dined out the same way on Sunday night in celebration after Hong Kong Derby hero Designs On Rome elevated himself to Horse Of the Year-in-waiting in another emotional Audemars Piguet QE II Cup victory for Australian jockey Tommy Berry.
Twelve months ago, Berry, 23, had not set foot outside his own country before he arrived on race morning and claimed the race on Military Attack, but this time he was winning it for his late twin brother and fellow jockey, Nathan, who died early this month after contracting a little-known disease, Norse syndrome. "It's been a pretty tough month. I didn't know if I wanted to come back - it was a tough decision leaving my parents behind at such a tough time but Nathan's dream was always to ride here," Berry said. "He got one taste of it last year and really enjoyed it - now I can come here and live his dream as well as mine."
Moore struck a one-two punch as Designs On Rome edged out reigning Horse Of The Year Military Attack and the threat of the high-class Japanese runner, Epiphaneia, failed to materialise after he was caught wide.
Moore had maintained confidence before the race. "I think Designs On Rome has to be the next Horse Of The Year after that, and he'll have one more run in the Champions & Chater Cup to make sure," said Moore. "I told the public quite a while ago Designs On Rome was an international Group One horse. He has to travel and do it offshore, but his owner is keen to go to Dubai next year for one of the turf races. That's the future - for tonight we're going out to a Japanese restaurant to celebrate."
Audemars Piguet got its money's worth, with the earlier support feature, the Group Two Sprint Cup being taken out by Charles the Great, trained by Moore and part-owned by Michele Reis, the sponsor's official QE II Cup ambassador.
That feature, combined with the lion's share of the QE II Cup prize money took the trainer through HK$113 million in stake money for the season and past his own record with more than two months to go. The Jockey Club didn't miss either, with a crowd of more than 30,000 and betting turnover up significantly.
"It's always a major test this day for our Derby horses going up against international elite competition - only our best Derby winners win this race as well," said Jockey Club chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges. "And we are in discussions with Audemars Piguet, our partners for 16 years, about significantly lifting prize money to keep attracting such top-class horses."