John Moore only provides three of the 14 entries for this weekend’s Group Three Premier Cup and Premier Plate, the final feature races of the season, but the lack of numbers is instructive on where the big-money trainer has his sights – next season.
The Australian has again propped up the domestic group race schedule with serious numbers and it says a lot about his consistent feature race dominance that having ‘just’ three runners across two group races is actually a talking point.
Moore has won 10 of the 29 Group races in total this season, including four of the 11 Group Ones, and of course swept the four-year-old series with Rapper Dragon, before the import’s sad demise in the Group One Champions Mile.
The trainer has provided more than a quarter of all runners across the feature races in 2017-18 but the workload has taken a toll and resulted in the stable’s short roll call this weekend.
“I’ve just had to give some horses a break because they are tired,” said Moore, who didn’t have a single entry for Wednesday night’s Happy Valley meeting.
“Those top horses, in fact all of the horses, are up for a long time, back in Australia they would have been given a break and they’d be back on a second programme if you wanted to participate in some of the big races. They had just had enough and I didn’t want to put them in jeopardy with respect to soundness.”
Even for the horse that Moore rates as his best chance on Sunday, Magic Legend – a smart three-year-old stepping up to 1,400m for the first time in the Premier Cup – it is still all about next season.
“He still has a few steps to go, but he is heading in the right direction and has the potential to develop into a top-level sprinter,” Moore said of a lightly-framed gelding that won his first four before solid efforts at his last two starts.
“He could have been six-for-six, in my opinion, if he had a little more luck in running. He is still only lightly raced and now is a good time to try him up in trip. I think he will run 1,400m, he still kicks at the end of 1,200m. He is already improved out of sight but maybe he has some upside.”
Moore may have an impact this week away from the track with regards to next season as he is eyeing imports out of Royal Ascot.
Hong Kong owners have already made their mark at the Goffs London Sale: German 2,000 Guineas runner-up Lockheed, the £900,000 (HK$8.8 million) top lot, is Hong Kong-bound after being purchased by owner Henry Cheng Kar-shun.
Moore wasn’t active in London but will again look, along with other bloodstock agents, to Thursday’s Britannia Stakes and Hampton Court Stakes, the race from which Lockheed was scratched after the auction.
“They are both races we have bought out of with success in the past,” Moore said. “So we will be on the lookout again, especially the Britannia, you look at what a horse like Booming Delight has done this season and that’s the type of horse we are looking for out of there.”