There was certainly a relaxed air about John Moore on Tuesday morning with the trainer looking forward to saddling almost half of Sunday’s field in the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m), including the likely favourite Rapper Dragon, winner of the first two legs of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series, the Hong Kong Classic Mile and the Hong Kong Classic Cup.
“Six runners in the Derby, that’s a win in itself!” Moore beamed.
Blooming Delight, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
Booming Delight might not be the five-time Derby winner’s top pick, but the handler is clearly proud of the horse’s achievements so far in winning three from five in Hong Kong, a run that has seen him rise to a mark of 94 from an opening rating of 74.
“He’s a live chance, for the simple reason he’s already proven with a win at the 2000 metres. And he’s got the services of Ryan Moore, so I’m sure he’ll be there when the whips are cracking,” he said.
“The horse was expensive, for a 72/74 rated horse, it wasn’t easy to get him. But the owner was willing to spend that sort of money. And he’s proven to be quite a find in the sense that he’s progressed up the ratings to where he’s now a surprise runner in the Derby.”
Moore has bought horses out of Royal Ascot with regularity and won the 2009 Hong Kong Derby with the previous June’s Hampton Court Stakes winner, Collection. But market forces mean that he is now looking to source more of his Derby prospects from Australia.
“Ascot’s a good source of nice horses, and Goodwood and the July Meeting, too. We’ve bought some nice horses out of those meetings in England over the years,” he said.
“But we’re focusing more on Australia these days. Sourcing from Europe is so much more difficult because if a smart two-year-old comes along, the Qataris or the Dubai Sheikhs are straight onto it. In the past, they weren’t out there to get any two-year-old showing promise, they were depending on their own breeding operations or the yearling sales.
“Their tactics have changed and that makes it difficult for us to buy in Europe, so we’re searching more in Australia. In future we’ll take into consideration what’s going on but we’ll be looking more to the Australian scene for the likely Derby types for next season,” he stated.