John Moore has endured a disappointing season but is looking to Sunday’s spring features – and beyond – for a revival and on Tuesday floated the idea of an end of season trip to Japan for 2015-16 Horse of the Year Werther.
Moore has won the Audemars Piguet QE II Cup fives times and the Champions Mile on six occasions, both records, but is down on his usual numbers as he tackles the two races in his third to last season as a trainer in Hong Kong.
Beauty Generation has been a beacon of hope in an otherwise bleak campaign and looms as Moore’s best chance in the Champions Mile, with stablemate Helene Paragon under an injury cloud for the same race and stayer Eagle Way looking overmatched in the QE II.
Werther’s return from a three-month bleeding ban would offer some more hope and the trainer has entered the classy six-year-old for the Group One Takarazuka Kinen on June 24.
“Werther galloped this morning and is coming along well,” said Moore, who plans to resume the 2015 QE II winner in the Group Three Lion Rock Trophy at Sha Tin three weeks before the Japanese feature.
“We could get a run into him in the Group Three and then go to Hanshin. It was a wet track there last year and if we could get some give in the ground that will help him. The 2,200m also looks ideal.”
A cavalcade of Hong Kong's finest in today's first trial over 1600m with #HKChampionsDay coming on 29 April. This included Pakistan Star, Seasons Bloom, Ping Hai Star, Southern Legend et al. pic.twitter.com/vCQxAZMHDy— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) April 20, 2018
Helene Paragon pulled up lame in his off hind leg after a 1,600m trial last Friday and Moore said he has the six-year-old on a close watch.
“We are working on it, he had some slight lameness,” Moore said.
Jockey Club regulatory vet Peter Curl examined Helene Paragon on Tuesday and reported that “whilst the lower leg swelling has improved, the horse was found to be moderately lame with a pulse to its right hind foot” and added the horse would continue to be monitored.
While Beauty Generation could give Moore a seventh Champions Mile, the dual-Group One winner could join rare company with a win in the race.
Only three horses have completed the Group One Hong Kong Mile-Champions Mile double in the same season and all are considered champions.
Good Ba Ba completed the double in 2009, later joined by Able Friend (2014-15) and Maurice (2015-16).
Beauty Generation added the Group One Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup to his resume in January and Moore said he has his five-year-old in fine fettle.
“He’s kicking his brands off at present,” Moore added. “He’ll have a light workout on Thursday with Zac [Purton] aboard and I’m sure he’s going to run a big race.”