By Hans Ebert

When it rains it pours and after a kinda lacklustre start, this Hong Kong racing season is ending with quite a flourish led, of course, by the utter domination and demolition of his opponents by the Zac Attack.

There’s also been the sudden reversal of fortune by John Moore, turning 70, and so facing compulsory retirement at the end of next season, who’s been throwing everything into the mix to bow out by winning this season’s trainer’s championship.

Even if he were to win this championship, it’s unfortunately not going to throw his career in Hong Kong a lifeline despite the background politics and transparent public relations campaigns that have been working overtime.

John and wife Fifi Moore and bloodstock agent son George are extremely well-connected and financially solvent.

One really doubts that not having a trainer’s license is going to stop the Moore dynasty from continuing to be involved in Hong Kong racing. John Moore knows where the money honey pot is and it’s not in Sydney.

Last night over dinner, some even suggested that the HKJC might offer him and Moore Bloodstock an advisory role. It was time to reach for some garlic prawns.

Not one to ever say never to anything after the stop-start-stop-start return of Joao Moreira after his final Sayonara to Hong Kong racing and all the ensuing fallout, the Moores working with the HKJC as brothers in arms? It might make sense in some ways, but…

Though one can’t not think that our old mate Peter, below, will do everything in his power to accommodate and welcome the Moores to Racing New South Wales with open arms and breathless excitement, John Moore is not about to give up everything he and his family have built up here.

It’s been a very long journey for John Moore from being described as a “lanky jockey” who rode very average horses like Harrington and Carrington regularly for owner Howard Kees, played second fiddle to his far more illustrious younger brother and then Champion jockey Gary before becoming Assistant Trainer to father George.

That was something like fifty years ago and John Moore has certainly come into his own having trained champion horses like Makapura Star, Viva Pataca, Collection, Able One, Able Friend, Rapper Dragon, most recently, Beauty Generation and with the very exciting Aethero waiting in the wings.

Whereas Aethero tackling the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint in December looks a certainty, also very possibly marked on the exciting galloper’s dancing card must be a slot in the Everest, billed as the richest sprint race in the world. At over 70, John Moore might finally taste (PR) success in his native Australia, something that has, surprisingly, eluded him. Pete will ensure that this helps promote his million dollar baby.

So while the John Moore and John Size tango for the championship trainer’s title continues today, there’s also a rampant Zac Purton out to break Joao Moreira’s record of riding 170 winners in a season.

He’s four behind tie-ing this record, and which is not impossible. Neither is beating it. And so, after quite a ho-hum start to the season, there’s some adrenaline rush and hot air being pumped through the veins of Hong Kong racing.

Who cares about who does what if it’s got nothing to do with one’s own bank balance? No idea. But many do. It’s about living vicariously. Us? We’ll just kick back and watch the show unfold and let our minds wander off and think about how to completely switch off and look at enriching one’s own life- and not always with material things and blind ambition. There are too many burnouts and car crashes littered along THAT highway.

As for the races today? We really believe in Size and how Size matters. John Moore has had a remarkable season and just might have to settle for second place.

The Zac Attack, meanwhile, has chosen his rides extremely carefully. Him and his soft hands riding 4-5 winners starting with Above in the first race for John Moore would not surprise.

The interesting race is in the last when this winning team combine with Thanks Forever. This is the horse that gave Purton his one thousandth winner in Hong Kong which was topped off nicely with HKJC senior executive Billy Nader presenting him with a blue cloth cap to commemorate the achievement. It’s one of the highlights of the season.

Thanks Forever is also the horse that failed miserably when the favourite at his last start and when ridden by Karis Teetan. Purton had a prior commitment to ride the equally Big Party who disappointed in the same sprint. A scouting party was sent to find both runners.

Reunited with the Zac Attack, John Moore, never shy to tip his horses, though there are those moments when hype and bollocks get the better of him, has been yelling from the rooftops at Shatin Heights that today will be the day when Hong Kong will see the real Thanks Forever as it tackles 1400 metres for the first time.

Frankly, we don’t care either way except for a friendly wager with a friend who believes the horse is an out and out sprinter and won’t even be amongst the first four.

Though not into tipping, the horses that look like having strong place chances and even toppling the favourites are Good Runner Way (R1,4), Richcity Fortune (R2,6), Telecom Rocket (R3,13), Super Eighteen (R4,4), My Power (R5,3), Gorgeous Again (R6,12), Ballistic King (R7,7), Time To Celebrate (R8,7), the ninth race could against all odds, Arcada (R10,3) and Glorious Spectrum in the last race of the season.

Interesting to see will be what happens during the off season- who might realise that their time in Hong Kong has run out, when the marquee value new trainer will be named, the rising stocks of South African riders Aldo Domeyer and Grant van Niekerk, both of whom have settled into Hong Kong racing very quickly, how the magic will return for Joao Moreira and the impact of Douglas Whyte as a trainer. It’s all fascinating stuff.

#HKracing #JohnMoore #ZacPurton #DouglasWhyte #competition #JoaoMoreira