Seven-time Hong Kong champion jockey Gary Moore has claimed his first international Group One race as a trainer in Perth, and declared giant sprinter Takedown can win the Longines Hong Kong Sprint next month.
There had been some confusion over whether Takedown had been invited or not but the withdrawal of English horse Profitable left a vacancy in the Sprint field on Friday and Moore left no doubts about who would be filling it after the Winterbottom Stakes in Perth.
“Why not go? We’ve got to give him a go. I looked after him this week and knew he was right there – body weight, feed intake and we had a jock riding better than George Moore!” Moore said.
“He’s a gelding, he’s had a wind op but he’s at the top of his game right now. We’ve got to go. And to all my friends there, I’ll say this – we’ve got a good horse coming to Hong Kong and I think, if he gets a good draw, he’ll win.”
The brother of outstanding Hong Kong trainer John and son of the legendary jockey and trainer George, Gary Moore won seven Hong Kong jockey championships in the 1970s and 1980s and also rode with great international success, including a Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, until he ran afoul of authorities over the Shanghai Syndicate race fixing scandal.
Moore later returned successfully to riding then turned to training in the 1990s and, after a short-lived attempt to set up in Sydney, became better known as the dominant handler in Macau until his decision to return to Australia in 2014.
“Chris Waller told me it would take me two years to get going and here we are, almost two years to the day and I’ve won my first Group One,” Moore said after stunning the Perth crowd by throwing protocol aside, running out on the racetrack to collect Takedown after the victory and bring him back to the winner’s enclosure. “John’s won the Queensland Derby this year as an owner, now I’ve won this great race and I think Dad would be so proud of us.”
Moore has trained a winner at Sha Tin when Viva Pronto shocked punters at 100-1 odds in the Hong Kong Macau Trophy in 2010 but Take down would be his first international runner there and Tim Clark will keep the ride.
“He’s such a great horse, he never lies down,” said Clark. “Hopefully he comes through today and we can head to Hong Kong with some confidence.”