John Moore called it a miracle that Sea Ruby was able to get to the races, let alone win, and will be hoping for similar recuperative powers from superstar Able Friend as the Horse of the Year prepares to begin his rehabilitation next month in Australia.
After Sea Ruby’s dirt win, talk quickly turned to the plans for Able Friend after his season-ending injury, his future under a cloud since scans revealed a tendon issue in his right fore foot.
Pending approval from Able Friend’s owner Dr Cornel Li Fook-kwan, Able Friend will fly out midway through February, with a departure date yet to be finalised.
Moore said the horse’s progress will be monitored by former Jockey Club vet Ben Mason at a property on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.
“I’m confident that Able Friend will be back, but he needs time and he needs the equipment they have down there,” Moore said. “The diagnostic equipment was important, as was the farm to which he’ll be going. We need an MRI and the diagnostic equipment so we can monitor his injury and get it right.
“Ben Mason will be the lead vet – I worked with him in Hong Kong and he can keep tabs on him, and find the right farm for him to stay at. Once we get him right, he can go into some light work and we can see if he can stand up to it. We will put the proposal to Dr Li, and I’m sure he will approve.”
For Sea Ruby, a second career win and a first this season came after a far from ideal preparation.
Quarter cracks and general hoof problems meant the 69-rated five-year-old had struggled to stay on the training track and had been on the brink of withdrawal all week.
“He came back lame in his near fore post-race, it’s a miracle we got him to the races,” Moore said. “He had quarter cracks and it was impossible to keep a shoe on, he has bad problems.”
In fact Sea Ruby, one of three sons of deceased sire Commands to win yesterday, lost the plate that had been attached to the worst affected of his hooves.
Moore said Jack Wong Ho-nam’s seven-pound claim and gaining the lead on the rain-soaked all-weather track proved crucial: “We got very lucky.”