Booming’s progress delights Moore ahead of Saturday’s Panasonic Cup

Booming Delight shoulders top-weight in the Class 1 Panasonic Cup Handicap (1400m) at Sha Tin on Saturday as trainer John Moore looks towards the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile for the talented British import.

The four-year-old was a strong-closing second in the G2 Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy Handicap (1600m) last time, a head behind stablemate Beauty Generation. The bay will line up in the field of 10 off a career-high rating of 109.

“His last run was a beauty,” Moore said. “I think he’s the one to beat in the race.”

Booming Delight raced with merit last term when his four wins included the G3 Lion Rock Trophy Handicap (1600m) under Saturday’s rider Sam Clipperton. Those efforts suggested that the Fastnet Rock gelding might be capable of stepping into the high grades, and Moore is confident his charge will do just that.

“He’s definitely taken the next step from where he was last season. He’s found his feet here now and he’s improved for it. He’s done everything right and I’m delighted with his progress so far. He’s close to getting his place in the Mile in December,” he said.

Moore entered Booming Delight for next week’s G2 BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Mile, the prime lead-up race for the 10 December showcase, but opted for this weekend’s Panasonic Cup instead.

“He won’t be running next week in the Jockey Club race, if he runs as I expect him to tomorrow he’ll go straight to the Hong Kong Mile with a barrier trial beforehand,” he said.

Booming Delight and Sam Clipperton, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club

The Panasonic Cup has attracted a classy field of protagonists. Moore will also saddle Magic Legend (131lb), while champion trainer John Size and champion jockey Joao Moreira will team up with the smart prospect Western Express (131lb). Exultant (114lb) was third in the G1 Irish 2,000 Guineas as Irishcorrespondent and makes his first start for Tony Cruz.

Also set for the fray is the David Hall-trained Simply Invincible (122lb), a stalwart of such events and a tough opponent to crack.

A three-time winner in Hong Kong and a G1 scorer in New Zealand pre-import, the six-year-old possesses a sharp turn-of-foot, which jockey Derek Leung is hoping to utilise to its optimum. The bay was a smart third last start behind the impressive rising star Nothingilikemore.

“Simply Invincible doesn’t have a very good draw (gate eight) but he can jump quickly and has natural speed,” Leung said. “The key is to not use him too early, though, because then he won’t finish. I’m hoping we can get in and find cover, so I can use his good turn-of-foot. If we can get the right spot, he’s a very good chance.”

Another that will likely be seeking cover from an outer starting gate is Limitless (121lb), drawn nine. The Caspar Fownes-trained four-year-old showed in seven Hong Kong starts last term that he has an abundance of ability, curbed by a few quirks.

The British import, successful in the 2016 Britannia Handicap (1600m) at Royal Ascot, in which Booming Delight was sixth, has proved difficult to settle in his races, and has a tendency to hang in down the home straight.

“He’s a bit quirky but he did everything right when I jumped him out of the gates yesterday morning and he feels very well,” said jockey Chad Schofield “He’s a horse that is quite keen and needs to be switched off then saved for a good finish.”

Schofield gets the race ride for the first time, having missed out when the Lope De Vega gelding, then trained by Peter Ho, was scratched at the start before the G2 Chairman’s Trophy last April.

“He’s proved that he’s up to winning a race like this, we’ve just got to make sure he does everything right,” the rider said. “The horse seems to be in a good frame of mind at the moment. I think Caspar’s got him in shape to run a good race first up.”

The Panasonic Cup field also features the admirable New Asia Sunrise (127lb), as well as Racing Supernova (125lb) who was runner-up to the exciting Fifty Fifty at his last outing. Wah May Friend (120lb), a course and distance winner, is set to have the services of leading apprentice Matthew Poon, while the Moore-trained People’s Knight (113lb) will aim for a seventh career win at start 28.