Hong Kong horses clean up in Singapore internationals Mon, 20 May 2013
Hong Kong horses scooped the pool on Kranji’s international Group One night when the John Moore-trained Military Attack won the S$3 million Singapore Airlines International Cup and the Caspar Fownes-trained Lucky Nine won the S$1 million KrisFlyer International Sprint.
Military Attack, an Irish-bred by Oratorio, became the first Hong Kong-trained horse to win the 2000-metre weight-for-age feature and the first to back up from victory in the Gr. 1 Audemars Piguet QE 11 Cup at Sha Tin earlier this month.
Last night also marked the first Singapore successes for Hong Kong-based Australian jockey Zac Purton, who preceded his win on Military Attack by riding the Michael Freedman-trained Razziya Of Sydney to victory in a support race. By coincidence, the Redoute’s Choice four-year-old is a daughter of Zirna, a Group One winner in New Zealand a decade ago before racing in Singapore where she became Horse of the Year with wins in the Singapore Gold Cup and Raffles Cup.
While various others took part in the pacemaking, Purton was content to settle Military Attack in behind the pace and when the time came he was ready to pounce, sprinting through to score by more than three lengths in a time of 1:59.58. Completing a memorable outcome for Moore, his second stable runner Dan Excel took second narrowly from the Freedman-trained local Marwingo.
Choking with emotion at the winner’s dais to celebrate his first training success outside Hong Kong, 63-year-old Moore said Military Attack’s win was the “icing on the cake”.
“I would now love to send him to the Cox Plate in October in Australia,” he said. “I know it’s tough with the two weeks (quarantine) at Werribee, but he has shown he could travel.
“And the Cox Plate would be nice as I would love nothing more than to win a Group One race in my own country. I’ve actually already discussed with (owner) Steven Lo and I believe the organisers will soon send all the paraphernalia to him.”
The KrisFlyer went to Hong Kong for the third time after Sacred Kingdom and Green Birdie pulled off the feat in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
Lucky Nine finally secured an international Group One win on foreign soil when successful in the fourth leg of the Global Sprint Challenge. Ridden by another Hong Kong-based Australian in Brett Prebble, Lucky Nine scored a soft three-length victory from Australian raider Bel Sprinter (Hugh Bowman), with the favourite Super Easy (Joao Moreira) a head away in third position.
Prepared by Caspar Fownes who also trained Green Birdie, Lucky Nine had already been successful in International Group One company in the 2011 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin and has been a regular visitor to Japan, twice for the Sprinters’ Stakes over 1200 metres and once for the Yasuda Kinen over 1600 metres.
Bad luck in running had cost the Dubawi gelding on previous overseas visits but there were no such problems last night when he was one of the quickest to begin before enjoying the run of the race. Coming to the turn Prebble began to edge off the fence to give his mount plenty of galloping room. On balancing up for the run home Prebble pressed the button and Lucky Nine quickly assumed control of the race.
Bel Sprinter, who had been slow to begin and settled with the tailenders, got out wide and was putting in the big strides, but couldn’t peg back the winner. Super Easy was out into the clear in plenty of time and looked a big hope with 200 metres to run, but in the end couldn’t finish the race off.
“We saw the real Lucky Nine tonight,” said Fownes. “He’s been unlucky overseas on a number of occasions previously so it was great to see everything fall into place. Brett got him into a lovely position in the race and he was also strong to the line.”
Australian trainer Jason Warren was delighted with the performance of the runner-up Bel Sprinter who was on his first trip overseas. “It got a bit rough around the corner, but he still did a super job to run second,” said Warren. “I thought he hit the line enormous. I’m very proud of him.”
Moreira could offer no excuses for Super Easy after he had a terrific run in transit. “No excuses, he had every chance, but the winner was too good,” said Moreira. “When we turned for home, he was travelling so well that I really thought we had a good chance, but it wasn’t to be.”