The world's top miler, Able Friend may become the marquee equine attraction that Sydney's "The Championships" is looking for in the coming months, after owner Dr Cornel Li Fook-kwan indicated he was looking at an invitation to run the five-year-old in the A$3 million (HK$19 million) Doncaster Mile at Royal Randwick in April.
The effortless winner of the Longines Hong Kong Mile last month is expected to become the highest-rated performer ever trained at Sha Tin when fresh world rankings are released later this month, and trainer John Moore had pencilled the gelding in for the Dubai Duty Free.
However, Moore said on international day that he knew Dr Li would take some convincing to go to Dubai and the owner himself said yesterday that Sydney is under consideration.
"John hasn't even started to really work on me yet for Dubai, but I'm not that keen on it and I've had an invitation for the Doncaster, which might be interesting," said Dr Li, who said he was not concerned about taking Able Friend to a handicap race despite his high rating.
"If he has a big handicap, it wouldn't worry him. He's such a big strong horse now, he'd carry the weight."
Plans for Able Friend beyond the newly international Group One Stewards' Cup on January 25 at Sha Tin are not yet set in stone, and a trip to Sydney for the Doncaster Mile would impact on prizes on home soil.
Quarantine restrictions would make it difficult, even impossible, for Able Friend to visit Australia in April and still tackle the Group One Champions Mile at Sha Tin on May 3.
In preparation for the Stewards' Cup, trainer John Moore said yesterday he had asked the club if it would be possible to convene a special turf trial for Stewards' Cup horses on January 13.
"And I don't think I would be the only one who would want it, so we've made the request to John Ridley," Moore said. "If the trial is approved then Able Friend will have his tune up for the Group One in that."