WATCH: World's best jockey Ryan Moore triumphs on Sun Jewellery to give trainer John Size his first Hong Kong Classic Mile victory
It was beaten trainer John Moore who emerged confident of taking the BMW Hong Kong Derby in March after John Size broke his hoodoo in the Group One Classic Mile yesterday with the horse from his yard most punters weren’t expecting.
Size-trained Thewizardofoz (Joao Moreira) was a heavily backed favourite and looked like justifying that confidence turning for home, but it was champion jockey Ryan Moore on stablemate Sun Jewellery – whose stamina many doubted – who picked up the pieces when the favourite appeared not to stay the trip.
Moore’s ride was the key difference, bottling up Moore-trained Werther (Hugh Bowman) at a crucial moment at the 250m, then getting a winning break before Werther ran him to a neck at the post.
“Werther should have won and what we do know is that this distance is short of his best and there are no question marks over him getting longer,” said Moore. “Hugh said as far as he’s concerned he’s going to be the one to beat going to 1,800m next time and 2,000m in the Derby.”
Size said he had been unflustered by barrier 14 for Sun Jewellery before the race, even if it gave him some worries during it.
“Set weights races against their own age, the top-rated horse can often be better off out there – out of trouble and able to show why they are the top-rated horse – and this horse has pace and I knew he’d settle,” Size said. “So I asked Ryan to go forward but I have to say the first 400m I was a little surprised at how much speed there was under him, and he was working hard and I was wishing then that he’d drawn better. But he did eventually get over and it was a good test for him today against some nice horses and he came through.
“I thought he did a big job to hang on, with the wind in his face at the end of a tough race like that. Horses who have won this race previously off high ratings have turned out to be very good and there’s no reason to think he’ll be any different.”
Ryan Moore was suitably impressed with the victory and said he had considered Sun Jewellery the one to beat: “He’s a very nice horse. He looked the best in the race to me beforehand, a horse who hasn’t done much wrong in his life, and he seems to have a very good racing mind which is going to help him wherever he goes.”
As to the longer races, Size said he would take his guide from Sun Jewellery.
“I’ll have a look at him and see how he is – the horse will tell us what he can do,” he said. “He’s never been delicate so there’s probably another run in him.”
Thewizardofoz became Size’s fourth beaten favourite in the Classic Mile and, ironically, one of the previous ones was Unique Jewellery, who raced in the same ownership as Sun Jewellery, but Moreira felt the favourite failed to run out the 1,600m in fifth place.
“He was a little bit keen early but otherwise got a nice run. When we turned the corner, he gave me such a good feel and he sprinted quickly to go after them but, by the time we got to the 200m, I already knew he wasn’t going to get within a length of them,” the jockey said.
Ever-consistent Blizzard got past Lucky Bubbles for third and sixth-placed Giovanni Canaletto (Chad Schofield) looked the eye-catching Derby trial outside of the runner-up, beaten five lengths at his Hong Kong debut.
“He ran a good race and I expected the mile would be way too short for him so he could be quite interesting when we get to the Derby,” said trainer Tony Cruz.