Racing

Aethero has looks of Able Friend

Trainer John Moore makes comparison with his former champion, declares debut winner's future bright

Aethero lived up to the bubbling hype with an easy debut win at Sha Tin on Sunday that took jockey Zac Purton to 100 wins for the season and went some way to upholding trainer John Moore's judgment.

Moore's bloodstock arm purchased the Sebring gelding at the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale 12 months ago, securing the chestnut with a bid of A$575,000 (S$557,000).

"When I bought him, as I said to everybody, he just caught my eye as being like Able Friend," said Moore.

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"When he came out of the box, I said 'just buy him'. He had the pedigree and when I saw him - he's smaller but he had the look of Able Friend, so I thought, you know, he just might be. Time will tell, but he's taken a first step today."

Sluicing to success against six unraced rivals is a long stretch removed from winning four Group 1 races and achieving world champion-miler status, but the manner of Aethero's win down the 1,000m straight prompted Moore to declare "the future is bright".

No one was arguing. Running in the silks of Andrea Tien and Arthur Cheng, Aethero cruised home in the season's first Griffin contest in 56.27sec - almost a full second inside standard, without being extended.

"He only had one barrier trial but he didn't need any more to win this. He wasn't 100 per cent today but he's so talented that he didn't need to be," said Moore.

"We did have him at the gates the other day. I had the rider jump him out and he began well - everyone seemed to miss that."

Purton was buoyant when he cantered back to unsaddle the 1.3 favourite.

"Let's put him in the Class 2 later, John," he shouted, grinning broadly as he went by.

The rider was pleased to reach the 100 mark, his fourth Hong Kong century, as he heads towards what would be a third premiership.

"It's a good mark to hit - and on a horse like that as well - it's nice," he said.

"He's a nice horse to look at, he's not your readymade racehorse, he's quite dumb and in the mornings he doesn't really know what he's doing.

"As he has more racing and gets more experience, he'll learn to do the right things and continue to progress."

Aethero's win came just one day after his older half-brother Classique Legend landed the Group 2 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint at Randwick.

"This is a very good family," said Moore. "Of course, he has to prove it on the track - it's all well and good doing it all on the training track - the way he won today, so facile, he has a big future. The sky's the limit."

Before he reaches the stratosphere, Aethero has to navigate his way through Hong Kong's handicap grades.

Before then, he will remain in restricted company in Griffin races, exclusive to two and three-year-old horses who had not raced before import.

"I'll miss the next Griffin race with Aethero and go for the 1,200m race," said the trainer. - HKJC

HORSE RACING