Friday, 25 May 2012
: Ambitious Dragon will attempt to enhance his legend with a rare Triple Crown success in Sunday's Champions & Chater Cup at Sha Tin but to succeed he will have to see off five determined rivals, especially the ascendant Dominant.
John Moore's charge arrived in Hong Kong from England with a burgeoning reputation, having won a lucrative sales race and then finished third in the G2 York Stakes behind multiple G1 hero Twice Over in a light three-year-old campaign.Dominant
took a little time to acclimatize to his new surroundings and, despite a fine third in the HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) second time out, he was only eighth in the HKG1 HK Derby (2000m) on 18 March.
However the Cacique colt seems has blossomed recently and impressed when overcoming a troubled passage to land a maiden local success in the HKG3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup over 2400m course last time.
“Dominant's definitely thrived since his last run, his work's been excellent and I think he's the horse to beat in the race,” said Moore, who also saddles Irian
, runner-up in the past two renewals of the G1 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup (2000m).
“We'll just have to see how Ambitious Dragon is on the day and whether he can stay – he still has to prove it and he'll need to be at his best to beat Dominant.
"The horse has gone on another step since his win in the Queen Mother with respect to fitness and the acclimatization factor.
“Brett Prebble said that he's excited about Irian's progress – he's been working exceptionally well going into the race.
"The horse has had those problems with brushing that have hampered his performances and we've been tweaking the shoeing, and there's been a bit of refinement to counteract the problem since his last run.”
Trainer Tony Millard appears to have reigning Horse of the Year Ambitious Dragon
in good heart ahead of his bid to become the second Triple Crown winner in Hong Kong history.
River Verdon in 1994 is the only horse to have won the HKG1 Stewards' Cup (1600m), the HKG1 Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m) and the HKG1 Champions & Chater Cup (2200m in 1994) in the same season.Liberator
and Super Pistachio
were behind Dominant in the Queen Mother Memorial Cup but the former had defeated Moore's charge over 2200m at Happy Valley when in receipt of 16lb.
The field also includes the Peter Ho-trained Mr Medici
, winner of this race in 2010 and runner-up last year.
Sunday's card also features the HKG3 Sha Tin Vase over 1200m, in which the Tony Cruz-trained Best Eleven
will attempt to equal the Hong Kong record of seven wins in a season set by Entrapment in the 2009/10 season and matched by Ambitious Dragon last term.
“Best Eleven has come off his last win very well,” said Cruz.
“He has a good alley and is in top form, so he has a good chance.
"We'll be in there trying for number seven and then we'll probably rest him after that.”
Among Best Eleven's six rivals are the progressive Peter Ho-trained four-year-old Arrived Ahead
, and a pair from the Moore stable, Captain Sweet
and Able Speed