John Moore called it a “European-style gallop on the downs” as four of his big race contenders held a barrier trial of their own and worked together up the Sha Tin straight on Tuesday.
Able Friend (Joao Moreira), Werther (Sam Clipperton), Helene Paragon (Douglas Whyte) and Designs On Rome (Karis Teetan) stuck together as a group in the 1,000m work-out, just as planned by Moore, as Amber Sky scooted away out in front, and Peter Ho Leung’s Limitless sat at the tail.
“We had our own trial – we weren’t going to be able to keep up with a horse like Amber Sky, so we had to trial like a European gallop on the Newmarket downs, I just told the jockeys to group together and they all got to the line nicely,” Moore said.
“They all worked well and just as importantly they all pulled up well too. It was a good morning and all is in readiness for the big races.”
Moore revealed Stewards’ Cup winner Helene Paragon would no longer head to next month’s Group One Dubai Turf and instead stay at home at the request of owners.
Helene Paragon will be joined in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup by 2015 winner Able Friend and stablemate Joyful Trinity.
Moore has three of the seven entries for Sunday week’s HK$10 million Group One Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup as the trainer chases a record fifth straight win in the race, and 11th overall.
Designs On Rome will be chasing a third straight Gold Cup triumph, which would equal River Verdon’s record set in the early 1990s.
Designs On Rome and Werther will be joined in the race by Basic Trilogy, who runs on Wednesday night in the Shan Kwong Handicap at Happy Valley.
In the morning dirt trials, John Size had his up-and-coming sprinter D B Pin (Zac Purton) go through his paces over 1,050m in good time.
D B Pin was upset as $2.30 favourite when he jumped into Class Two and up to 1,200m for the first time this season on January 22, but a solid front-running trial on the bridle in smart splits should ensure the four-year-old is short odds again when he returns to the races.
Purton was on another eye-catcher as well, with Paul O’Sullivan’s four-year-old Merrygowin clearly having progressed well since a nice debut up the straight last month.