Sydney jockey Tommy Berry has made a triumphant return to Hong Kong to steer Designs On Rome to a Group One victory.
Berry rode the John Moore-trained to three Group One wins in 2014 and answered the call from the owners to partner the horse in Sunday’s Hong Kong Gold Cup at Sha Tin.
Designs On Rome was at the back of the field with Berry making his move 800m from home to work to the front, holding off the challenge from the Moore-trained Helene Happy Star by a half length.
“I always like to get going a little early on him because he stays further than 2000 metres without quite getting a strong 2400,” Berry said.
“I didn’t want to be too far behind Neil Callan on (favourite) Blazing Speed because if he was able to get away from me I thought w we’d be in trouble.”
The win was Berry’s fifth from eight rides on Hong Kong’s 2014 Horse of the Year.
Designs On Rome underwent arthroscopic surgery on both forelegs last year.
“Every trainer has their concerns after surgery,” Moore said.
“It’s hard, to think that he may not come back the same horse, but the operation went great.
“He’s returned today the horse he’s been over the past few seasons. He’s the best.”
Moore has ruled out any thoughts of travelling Designs On Rome to Dubai or Sydney, saying he would stay home to run in the QEII Cup in April.