where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2009-02-20 10:54:16  
Moore anticipates Viva Pataca double in Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup

A certain sense of déjà-vu surrounds this weekend’s second leg of the Citi Triple Crown.

For the second successive year, Viva Pataca will start at prohibitive odds to win the Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup against seven rivals on the back of a third-placed finish in the Citi Stewards’ Cup.

Last year John Moore was not shy about predicting victory for Viva Pataca in this HK Gr.1 event over ten furlongs and the script is much the same this time around.

“I think he’ll win. He has met all these horses before and he has the measure of them and his work of late has been good,” the leading trainer said.

“He continues to have foot problems but it’s nothing we haven’t faced before and we have it under control – it’s not they are brittle they are just poorly formed – but it’s something we have to live with. It certainly doesn’t stop him on race day.”

Moore also fields Viva Macau and Eyshal and both are likely to take up forward roles with Viva Pataca settling midfield or a little further back as he seeks the sixth Gr.1 win of a glittering career.

“I hope there is some pace on and that Viva Pataca can get a nice cart into the race and quicken up from the top of the home straight and hopefully sweep past them. Eyshal is still on the upgrade and I think he could be able to stick on well enough to place,” Moore added.

Genuine opposition to the odds-on favourite appears thin on the ground. Packing Winner may have denied Viva Pataca glory in the Citi Champions & Chater Cup last term over a more suitable trip of 2400m but trainer Peter Ho seems resigned to a lesser share of the pie on this occasion.

“It’s going to be hard to beat Viva Pataca but I think our horse can get a place anyway. He might have needed the run last time out [when seventh in the Jebsen Centenary Vase] so he’s fitter for that run and I’ve got his best jockey back on,” Ho said in reference to Douglas Whyte who could also have ridden Sight Winner.

Last season’s Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby runner-up, Jackpot Delight, a close third in the Jebsen Centenary Vase last start, is also capable of making the frame.

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