where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2009-02-22 13:24:16  
Moore bags a Gr.1 double of contrasts with Viva Pataca, Dim Sum

John Moore has enjoyed many major victories during his record-breaking career in Hong Kong, but no doubt Sunday's Gr.1 double will always rank highly.

The provenance of the leading trainer's latest feature race brace could not have been more contrasting. First he witnessed Viva Pataca win the Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup for the second successive year as an odds-on favourite. A little over half an hour later, Dim Sum, ridden by new Club Jockey James Winks, shocked Sha Tin with a 50/1 upset in the Chairman's Sprint Prize.

Moore's double was redolent of another of his finest hours when Viva Pataca won the 2006 Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby and Billet Express – carrying the same pale blue and yellow colours of Dim Sum's owner David Pong Chun-yee – won this same sprint on the same programme.

Viva Pataca's second successive victory in the second leg of the Citi Triple Crown did not come in the same facile fashion of a year earlier even if the still admirable Packing Winner never really looked like defeating last season's Champion Middle Distance horse.

Darren Beadman pushed out Viva Pataca to score by a neck and record his sixth career Gr.1 success.

"He was ridden more forward today so that we wouldn't get any traffic jams up front but Darren was never in any bother. Viva Pataca just showed that he's still the best horse in Hong Kong over 2,000metres and more and, to be honest, I think he might have needed the run today, so there is further improvement to come," Moore said.

Last year Viva Pataca travelled to the Emirates to run second in the US$5m Dubai Sheema Classic on the back of victory in this event, but the trainer and owner Stanley Ho Hung-sun indicated a similar venture has not been decided as regards the richest race meeting in the world on 28 March.

"We will have to consider it [Dubai] but I'm afraid the horse might not be at his best when he comes back, so we need to discuss it further," Mr Ho remarked.

If Moore was savouring a red-letter day, the same certainly applied to Australian James Winks who will never forget Dim Sum's victory in the second leg of the Hong Kong Speed Series, his third win since making his local debut a month ago.

In a pulsating finish, Winks galvanized Dim Sum, seemingly Moore's third string in the race, to a head margin from the ever-consistent Enthused with race favourite Sacred Kingdom a head further back in third. Sunny Power ran a close fourth.

Moore has made a habit of taking out major sprints this season after Inspiration won the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint and the Centenary Sprint Cup. He said the application of blinkers for the first time had made the difference with Dim Sum. "They have done the trick; they made him more focused. James gave him a great ride, he had him settled in third or fourth and then Dim Sum showed great heart but I think the blinkers are the main reason for taking him up to Gr.1 status."

"I'm absolutely over the moon to win a second Gr.1 on the day and I'm also delighted for James to get a Gr.1 winner so early in his Hong Kong career."

Winks, still on Cloud Nine in the aftermath, added: "It's every jockey's dream to ride a Gr.1 winner in Hong Kong and I've done that now so I hope it can continue. Just to be able to come and ride here was great for me so to add a Gr.1 winner on an outsider is a huge boost."

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