With memories of his successes on Hong Kong’s racetracks flooding back, Gary Moore’s thoughts have turned to hulking sprinter Takedown winning one of the world’s most famous sprint races.
Now based in Sydney, Moore has returned to Hong Kong for Sunday’s Group One International Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin with Takedown who has tipped the scales at 618kg, the same weight he was before winning the Group One Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot on November 26.
“He’s coping well with the amount of travelling,” Moore told AAP from Hong Kong.
“In fact I thought he looked a lot brighter in the coat here in Hong Kong than what he did from Perth.”
Moore was a seven-time champion rider in Hong Kong and won a Group Three race as a trainer in 2010 when he travelled Viva Pronto from Macau where he was champion trainer eight times.
The 17-hand gelding will work on turf at Sha Tin on Wednesday morning.
Based on years of experience riding at the track, Moore is hopeful Widden Stud’s Antony Thompson can draw inside barrier five on Thursday.
Takedown was bred by Widden and given to Moore to train after being withdrawn from the Easter yearling sale when Thompson had doubts he would make the grade.
Moore’s father and legendary jockey George was close friends with Thompson’s father Bim.
“Our families go back a long way,” Moore said.
“To have a horse under my care for them and to win my first Group One race in Australia was very, very special.”
Moore repeated his trademark celebration after the Winterbottom, running on the track to greet and kiss Takedown.
“I think I’ll be a little bit more subdued but I’ll definitely jump for joy if we can win this great race,” Moore said.
While Moore admits he is proud to simply have a runner, an International Sprint victory would rank alongside his 1981 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe win aboard Gold River.
“I’ve won the greatest race in the world as a jockey and to come and win probably one of the greatest sprint races in the world would be something that I could be proud of,” he said.
Manikato Stakes winner Rebel Dane will also fly the Australian flag, with trainer Gary Portelli’s assistant Greg Miles saying the horse will have a light week.
“He lost nine kilos on the flight but has already put a couple back on and looks bright,” Miles said.
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