Rapper Dragon capable of HK 4YO Series clean sweep
Trainer John Moore has seen plenty in his 32 years in the Hong Kong training ranks, not to mention his tenure as an assistant to his father, the legendary George Moore, before that.
But, in RAPPER DRAGON, Moore believes he may finally have a horse capable of becoming the first to win all three legs of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series, a feat the Street Boss gelding can achieve with victory in Sunday's BMW Hong Kong Derby over 2,000m at Sha Tin.
"Definitely, he's capable," five-time Derby winner Moore said yesterday morning after watching all six of his Derby runners complete their final major gallops on the Sha Tin turf.
"He's going to be hard to beat, there's no doubt about it, he's rated 14 points higher than any of his rivals and he will be a deserved favourite.
"To win all three legs of the series is very hard, we've seen horses go close before but they have come up short in the Derby, but there is something about this horse. It is a different race, because they have the short run to the first turn, but he should be able to lay up and he should be able to steal enough of a break on his main rivals."
Rapper Dragon proved too classy in the first two legs of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series, the Hong Kong Classic Mile over 1,600m in January and the Hong Kong Classic Cup over 1,800m last month.
He is the third horse to attempt to add Derby victory to wins in the other two legs, with Floral Pegasus (second in 2007) and Sun Jewellery (seventh in 2016) both coming up short. But, Moore believes that Rapper Dragon is good enough to extend his ability out to the longer 2,000m trip.
"Great horses that I have had over the years, they can win from 1,400m to 2,000m, they are versatile," said the trainer. "They're that good, they are just superior athletes and they can do it. This horse may be best at a mile, and he might even find himself in a Champions Mile in a few weeks, but he can stretch it out against his own age group, even in a good Derby like this one."
All six of Moore's Derby contenders worked down Sha Tin's home straight yesterday morning, with the trainer particularly pleased with the effort of Rapper Dragon under raceday partner Joao Moreira.
Four of his six raceday jockeys were on hand to partner their mounts in their final pieces of fast work yesterday morning, with Moreira on Rapper Dragon, Douglas Whyte on HELENE CHARISMA, Sam Clipperton on RODRICO and Zac Purton on BEAUTY GENERATION.
Tommy Berry, who partners Eagle Way, and BOOMING DELIGHT's pilot Ryan Moore will fly in after the Golden Slipper meeting in Sydney on Saturday. -HKJC