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If I was John Moore I would be telling the HKJC if I can’t train here I will return to Australia and take my champs with me – @AtCroydonNow
Next season will be master trainer John Moore’s last with the Jockey Club confirming they will adhere to their hard-and-fast retirement rule – even if he was to snatch the trainers’ championship at the eleventh hour.
While Moore – who believes he is as sharp as ever – is keen to train on past 70, speculation has also been rife his red-hot form could earn him a stay of execution.
Moore was granted a special extension at the usual retirement age of 65 four years ago but Jockey Club executive director of racing Andrew Harding said there was a hard cap at 70.
“The licensing committee makes all of the decisions on the licensing of trainers. They have made a general rule that trainers are to retire at 65,” he said.
“By special approval, they have allowed some trainers in specially defined circumstances to go beyond 65 but with a limit of 70.
“It is a clear policy and the club has to adhere to it.”
Moore currently has his hands on the two hottest horses in Hong Kong in Beauty Generation and Aethero and is regarded as a fantastic promoter of the sport.
The 69-year-old Australian also has his eye on bettering Silent Witness’ mark of 17 consecutive victories with his champion miler Beauty Generation who has already racked up nine wins on the trot.
With room for two more trainers on the roster already, the departure of Moore will leave a sizeable hole, putting pressure on the club to find a suitable replacement considering the high-class gallopers he has brought to the jurisdiction.
Harding said it was important to apply the rules equally to all participants.
“I think it is a matter of having set goalposts and then applying the policy consistently,” he said.
“One thing that is very important is that everyone is treated fairly, the goalposts were set in 2013, they were clearly known, and they are consistently applied.”
Moore and fellow Australian John Size have been the only recipients of the special extension rule at 65 years of age, which was introduced to prolong the careers of high-performing trainers.
“The policy was articulated by the licensing committee in 2013, the goalposts were set, they have been clearly known, the licensing committee looked at all of the relevant considerations when the formulated the policy back in 2013 and that’s the policy the club will adhere to,” Harding said.
“They have decided there has to be a limit on that, that is already a special approval as it is five more years then anyone else gets and it has been decided that the special approval is capped at no more than five years.”
The forced retirement at the end of the 2019-20 season will bring the end to a partnership with the Jockey Club that dates back to 1971.
Moore will also depart as the record holder for all-time career prize money, having amassed almost HK$2 billion for connections in his career while training more winners (1,675) than anyone else in the history of Hong Kong racing.