Dominant was just that in the HKG3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup (Handicap) at Sha Tin today as he overcame a troubled passage to secure his first Hong Kong success by a length and a half under Douglas Whyte.
John Moore’s charge had arrived in Hong Kong from England with a reputation as a progressive colt with a big future, having run third to Twice Over in the G2 York Stakes last summer. And on his fifth start since touching down, the Cacique four-year-old looked the part against nine rivals for his first attempt at 2400m.
“He has taken a bit of time to acclimatize and I always say that when new horses come into town, give them time to get their straps,” said Moore of the colt who was eighth to Fay Fay when well-supported for the HKG1 Hong Kong Derby in March. “He has settled down nicely now, his demeanour in the paddock was better today, he looked good in his coat and from that point of view he’s the real deal. He’ll go to the Champions & Chater Cup now, where he will be a force to be reckoned with, and then that will be that for the season.”
Dominant, tucked away on the rail in mid rank, clipped heels down the back and then found himself full of running and trapped in a pocket at the 400 metres mark. But with less than 200 metres remaining, Dominant (119lbs) squirmed between runners and quickened to a decisive victory from Liberator (with Tim Clark overweight by 2 pounds), to whom he was conceding 4lbs.
“The pace slowed up at the mid point of the race and Dougie reported that he clipped heels,” added Moore. “The pace quickened when Liberator went up (in the back straight) and then he got travelling very nicely. Dougie said from the corner he thought he was always going to win the race if he got a bit of luck. He had to go back to the rails and just hope to get a run, which he did at the 200m, but Dougie was thrilled about the horse’s performance today.”
The Moore-trained Same World, runner-up in the HKG1 Hong Kong Derby, took third a further two and a quarter lengths back as Dominant stopped the clock at 2m 27.75s