Jenny - Clean

BEING run for the first year under its new title, and with elevated international Group 2 status, the Cathay Pacific Jockey Club Cup is no longer a mere trial for the longer distance G1 events on 12 December but a major test in its own right.

Clearly, however, with the Cathay Pacific International Races themselves less than a month away, some of Sunday’s contenders are likely to be further along in their preparations than others for the race that used to be the Cup trial.

John Moore goes into Sunday’s race with three strings to his bow, and Hong Kong’s all time leading trainer, is very open about the fact that some of his trio are likely to be at a more advanced level of fitness than others.

Last year’s trial winner Collection, who went on to finish second in last year’s Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup to Vision D’Etat, is the highest-rated horse in the race.

“Collection is coming along nicely,” says Moore “but you’ve got to remember his preparation is aimed at making sure he’ll be peaking on international day. He’s nearly there, but this run should just put the finishing touches on his condition.

“Mighty High’s progression is probably a little behind that of Collection. For him too we’re looking at putting on the finishing touches, and he’s our horse for the (G1 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong) Vase.”

Another Moore representative who might find himself challenged by the level of competition in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup however, but who has the chance of international Group 2 glory is last year’s German 2000 Guineas winner Irian, now thriving as a racehorse after an attitude-adjusting gelding operation last season.

“Of our three on Sunday,” says Moore “I would say that Irian is likely to be the most forward in his preparation. He was a little bit unlucky last time (in the Class 1 Sa Sa Ladies' Purse) when he got a bit of a check at a crucial point. I’d say he’s very close to peaking right now, and he’s probably the fittest of the three. The trip of 2000m is just about his limit, but I’d like to think that whatever beats him will probably be the winner.”

This season’s leading trainer Caspar Fownes sends out the 2010 Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby winner Super Satin for this test over the Sha Tin 2000m that saw his finest moment to date. But once again fans will have to factor into their calculations about whether the Derby hero is quite ready yet to do himself absolute justice.

“Super Satin is coming along well,” says Fownes. “Obviously we’re planning to bring him to a peak for the (Cathay Pacific Hong Kong) Cup on 12 December, but he’s getting there now, even though there should still be a nice bit left to work on. You should see a much improved run from him now he’s stepping up in trip. Zac (Purton) rides because Douglas is still suspended.”

Purton is looking forward to his ride on the Derby winner: “I’ve ridden him in work and he feels good to me,” says the Australian. “I feel he’s nearly at his peak and he should be ready to run a good race. The draw is a bit tricky, but it just means we’ll have to be one pair further back than we would if we’d been better drawn.”

Tony Cruz runs narrow Derby runner-up Super Pistachio and has a very positive attitude to Sunday’s contest. “Super Pistachio has been working well,” says Cruz “and he should be ready for this race.”

Another runner who is likely to make his presence felt is the Sean Woods-trained King Dancer. His main target is the G1 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase over 2400m on 12 December.

But Woods says: “I’m very happy with him. He’s a much stronger, much more furnished horse than he was last time round. He had a lovely run first time out when fourth in the (Sa Sa) Ladies’ Purse in which he only blew up with 100m to go, and since then everything’s gone right. We always had three runs in mind and 12 December will be the third, but he’s very well and I’m extremely pleased with him.”

King Dancer will have the assistance in the saddle of Melbourne Cup winning jockey Gerald  Mosse who is just three short of his 500th winner in Hong Kong. “He was always Gerald’s ride,” explains Woods about the renewal of the partnership.

“Gerald won the Derby Trial on him and finished, I thought, an unlucky fifth on him in the Derby. Olivier (Doleuze) took over just while Gerald was unavailable.”

Mosse has not ridden King Dancer at exercise lately but has been watching him at work and is optimistic. “He looks good,” says the Frenchman. “He’s got a good draw. He’s had a nice prep race and I think he should be ready to perform.”



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