The provincial circuit in the Australian state of Queensland is turning into rich territory for finding future Hong Kong horses and the John Moore-trained Solar Patch joined the list after a smart winning debut at Sha Tin.

Given a smart ride by Sam Clipperton, Solar Patch didn’t surprise anyone but the punters who took the odds-on about Lean Perfection when he ran out a convincing winner of the Beijing Clubhouse Anniversary Cup, meaning Moore is assembling some very useful three-year-olds for next season.

“He was originally in Sydney with my brother Gary and he won a provincial race there and we thought he was city class but things didn’t quite go as planned and he was beaten a couple of times,” Moore explained.

“So, like I did with Eagle Way, I went to Plan B and moved him up to Queensland to Bryan Guy and I just said ‘Bryan, please qualify him for Hong Kong’ and he did. He was quite an impressive winner at Ipswich.”

Eagle Way’s transformation in Queensland under Guy made him a Derby winner there before he shipped off to Sha Tin and this term’s Hong Kong Derby winner Ping Hai Star did his early racing in the same region, at the Sunshine Coast. That’s not to suggest that Solar Patch is going to reach those heights, but he is going to pay his way and Moore expected him to run well first-up despite smart opposition.

After the end of the John Moore and Tommy Berry partnership, is there still a place for a stable-retained rider in Hong Kong?

“He has thrived since he got here, his work has been exemplary. Even though he only had the one barrier trial, after he chased home Not Listenin’tome, Joao Moreira got off him and said he wasn’t short of fitness, he was ready to race,” Moore said. “Actually Joao asked me to run him another day when he was available to ride him but we already had this race earmarked. So it was like getting the old team back together with Sam.”

Clipperton said the race had not worked out perfectly and he produced Solar Patch sooner than he wanted to do so he wouldn’t get caught behind slow runners.

“I had a good spot and a nice run the first half but I was behind leaders I didn’t want to be behind,” he said. “So I came out a bit earlier and the horse towed me into the straight. He was left in front a long way out but I didn’t want to break his stride so I went with him and he did a really good job. It was his first run here and you’d have to think he’ll only get better.”