John Moore will leave it to punters to “do the maths” when trying to work out which of his three runners in Sunday’s Class One has the best chance but fears the John Size-trained rival Contentment might be the best weighted rival in the race.
Even after the withdrawal of Able Friend due to lameness, Moore still provides three runners, Helene Paragon (Tommy Berry), Dashing Fellow (Karis Teetan) and Invincible Dragon (Joao Moreira).
Now that Giant Treasure has been scratched with a swollen right fore suspensory, it leaves a field of just five and Moore versus Size, with Moore’s trio taking on Size’s Contentment (Brett Prebble) and Sun Jewellery (Zac Purton).
Even though Moore struggled to split the top weight Helene Paragon and bottom weight Invincible Dragon, he warned that Group One winner Contentment might have a slight edge.
“Helene Paragon has obviously done everything right, winning back-to-back Group Ones, but that has been at level weights and now he has to give weight away to some very smart horses,” Moore said. “Once Moreira claims two pounds over on the bottom weight, Helene Paragon is giving 18 pounds to Invincible Dragon, a horse on the rise as well. It’s a hard one to work out, but if you look at Contentment, you would have to say he is a great chance.”
Contentment won three races last season, taking the Group One Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup and finishing second to Japanese superstar Maurice in the Group One Champions Mile in May, but has struggled to recapture his best form since.
The six-year-old hasn’t won since that Group One breakthrough and it seems a little unfair that the gelding’s rating has dropped just two points and stayed stuck on 123 after eight straight unplaced runs since then.
Still, Contentment has been reasonably consistent this term without ever really threatening and finished just one-and-a-half lengths behind Helene Paragon in fifth after leading in this year’s Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup.
“He finished that close at level weights and now gets four pounds off Helene Paragon, and that might just be enough to turn that result around,” Moore said.
Moore suggested Dashing Fellow might be out of his depth at this level, but will be helped by a sole lead.
“Dashing Fellow is going to run a good race because if he gets a soft lead, of course he’s going to kick hard,” he said. “He wasn’t too far away the other day off the top weight.”
Contentment’s tactical versatility is another big plus coming back to the same 1,400m trip as well and Prebble should be able to take close order, leaving Moore’s two backmarkers with work to do if they are to catch him.
Moore wasn’t giving up on his pair though, particularly the highest-rated horse in the race.
“Even though he’s carrying 133 pounds, Helene Paragon, he just doesn’t know how to get beaten. The way he worked, he will not give up. He has a stiff task at the weights but he’s got such a lot of class,” he said.