Black bookers don’t come much more obvious than Helene Charisma out of the Hong Kong Derby and the John Moore-athon that the big races have been so far this year is set to continue as we get into the longer events.
A number of beaten Moore runners from the Derby, plus the winner, Rapper Dragon, Moore said on Sunday, are pencilled in for the Group One Champions & Chater Cup to end their season in late May.
There’s a bit of water to flow under the bridge before Rapper Dragon gets there, but there should be a dollar in Helene Charisma on the way.
Moore plans to run Eagle Way and Helene Charisma, at least, in the 2,200m Class Two on April 9, a race he attacked last year to good effect with Derby runner-up Victory Magic and Helene Charisma will be just as hard to beat.
On Sunday, his fifth to Rapper Dragon was excellent as Helene Charisma struck significant trouble at the top of the straight, just when jockey Douglas Whyte would have been wanting to have him clear and winding up.
When he did shake clear, he hit the line as well as any runner and, on the last 400m times, was third ranked in the run down the straight behind Pakistan Star and Dragon Rapper.
Helene Charisma recorded about three lengths slower than Pakistan Star’s top-ranking time but first and second had unhindered runs while the interference slowed Helene Charisma’s time significantly.
It isn’t often that we see a French 2,400m Group One winner imported, albeit a race won on a heavy track that makes it just that little bit untrustworthy in this environment.
But, if Helene Charisma can be effective on firmer going – and his Classic Mile run when not ready was some guide – then he might prove the best stayer here.
And the plus is that the Queen Mother Memorial Cup – won two years ago by Helene Happy Star under the same colours – and the Champions & Chater do come at the time of the season when rain is always about and even the firm going caveat might not be tested.