Moore-trained gelding earns a shot at the Hong Kong Derby John Moore turned the clock back a decade for the owners of Sunny Sing at Sha Tin as the gelding proved himself a real diamond in the rough winning the Group One Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Classic Mile and earning himself a roll of the Derby dice. In the mid-1990s, Moore trained Makarpura Star to win a string of major events for Matthew Wong Leung-pak, including the Hong Kong Derby, and surprised even himself as Sunny Sing (Eric Saint- Martin) graduated to the top echelon yesterday. 'Makarpura Star was the best horse Matthew and the family have had and it's been a decent wait for another Group One, but I have to thank him for all the confidence he shows in letting me buy his horses,' Moore said. A give-no-quarter ride from the French rider saw him keep well-fancied Willie Detroy in a pocket at the top of the straight, Sunny Sing's superior acceleration over the 1,600m proved the difference as he gave Hail The Storm and Happee Owner good starts in the straight but sprinted right over them. It was a race Moore had won in 1991 with Greenmail and two years ago with subsequent Derby runner-up, Tiber, but his third victory was a miracle of timing and acclimatisation. 'It's something that owners need to appreciate with buying Northern Hemisphere horses - they can take longer to acclimatise and come right, but I've said before that I buy my Group One horses in the Northern Hemisphere,' Moore said. 'They do turn out the best Private Purchase horses if they get time and handle the acclimatisation.' Moore recalled sitting in a car outside the stables of trainer Michael Bell in England while other trainers inspected Sunny Sing with a view to purchase. 'I was in one car and in front of me was another Hong Kong trainer and his people looking at the same horse. They came out and shook their heads,' Moore said. 'And, look, I've had Michael Bell train for me and I know it's hard to get anything extra out of his horses when you buy them, but I have a soft spot for Sunny Sing's sire, Sri Pekan. They are good solid horses without being stars and that's what I thought Sunny Sing would turn out to be - a Class One horse and very competitive at 1,200m or 1,400m - but this has surprised me.' Moore said he realised he might have something better than he originally thought when Sunny Sing arrived unheralded first-up in a Happy Valley sprint this season at long odds. 'He ran his last quarter as quick as anything can run at Happy Valley that night and it was pretty impressive, the turn of foot. From there, he's just improved every time he's gone to the races and I was confident he'd run out the distance today when I had a good look at his pedigree. His second dam is a German mare, Santina, from the family of Slip Anchor and Sagace and with plenty of mile-plus horses there. The mile I was confident - the Derby? Well that is another matter, but he's earned his chance and it's nice to go into a big race with a horse of his ability.' Saint Martin jokingly apologised to Moore for putting him under pressure to run Sunny Sing in the Derby by winning, but later said he'd feel more confident about Sunny Sing getting the 2,000m of the Derby in a small field like he encountered yesterday. 'With no horses around, he was easy to switch off and get relaxed. In a big field in the Derby, racing tighter and with more horses to get around and past, perhaps it will be different and he probably would not have that same turn of foot,' he said. 'But today he was great and you can't say for sure he won't run the distance when he hasn't tried it.'