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Famed Hong Kong horseman John Moore hasn’t been scared off by his unsuccessful Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival bid from last year and is set to return to target the Melbourne Cup 2012 with his progressive stallion Dominant this spring.
It was a fruitless trip down under for the son of esteemed jockey George Moore in 2011, Moore’s two spring contenders Mighty High and Silver Grecian only recording one top three finish from five starts between them.
This year he is hoping for better luck as he gets ready to bring over two of his stable aces including Cacique four-year-old Dominant who is being prepared for the world’s richest handicap, the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday November 6, 2012.
Dominant has won three of their 12 starts so far, their biggest victory being two back when they won the Group 3 The Queen Mother Memorial Cup (2400m) at Sha Tin on May 6.
Last start they ran another good race finishing third to Liberator, who earlier ran second in the Queen Mother Memorial, in the Group 1 Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) again at Sha Tin.
“He won the Queen Mother’s up here and then ran third in a very slowly-run Champions,” Moore said.
“When I bought him in England off Highclere I was looking at him being a Melbourne Cup horse, so he’s always been targeted that way.”
Moore is looking at running Dominant in the $250,000 Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) at Geelong on Wednesday October 24 for their Aussie debut ahead of the 2012 Melbourne Cup.
The Geelong Cup has proved an excellent Melbourne Cup form guide in recent years.
Two years ago French stayer Americain won the Geelong Cup in their first run in Australia before going on to beat home Maluckyday and So You Think in the 2010 Melbourne Cup.
Last spring fellow French galloper Dunaden repeated the feat winning the Geelong – Melbourne Cup double.
Dominant won’t be alone for their travels to Oz this spring, their weight-for-age champion stablemate Xtension also gearing up for a journey to Victoria where they will be set for the $3 million Group 1 Tatt’s Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday October 27.
“These two are about as good as I could bring to Melbourne, if not the best two I could ever bring,” Moore said of the duo.
“Extension is a top mile, 2000-metre horse and in the Cox Plate, from a good gate, he would be a force to be reckoned with if he travels well and Dominant was bought with the Melbourne Cup in mind.
“They’d be probably as good as you could get out of this part of the world to come back for the Carnival.”
One of the most consistent gallopers on the Group 1 WFA circuit, Xaar five-year-old Xtension has recorded nine Group 1 minor placings, including back-to-back wins in the Champions Mile at Sha Tin in 2011 and this year.
They have been racing at the highest level since October of 2009 when they finished a close third to Beethoven in that year’s Dewhurst Stakes (1408m) at Newmarket at just their fourth career start when prepared by C.G. Cox.
If Moore had had his way Xtension would have been bought over to Melbourne last spring but connections weren’t keen at that stage.
“The owner didn’t want to go last year,” Moore said.
“I wanted to come but the owner didn’t give me the green light, but this year it appears that the owner will have no objection to him coming down.
“At the moment we’re just trying to get a race into him here in Hong Kong.
“I’m trying to work in with the handicapping department to find out if they’re going to put on a race on before horses like him do travel to Australia.”
After their successful title defense in the Champions Mile, when ridden by top New Zealand hoop James McDonald, Xtension ran their career worst run last time out.
Dropping back from 1600m to 1400m they ran a well beaten 11th to Aashiq in a Group 3 handicap at Sha Tin on June 17.
Moore has already forgiven the horse that run and is keen to plan their 2012 Cox Plate assault.
“Fourteen-hundred (metres) was much too short with give in the ground,” Moore said.
“He couldn’t keep up, he was off the bit, but he wasn’t knocked around and (jockey) Tim Clark just got off and said well too short.
“From that point of view, he’d probably reached the end of it this campaign. We’ll give him a freshen-up before one run here or one run in Melbourne before the Cox Plate.”
In the latest Cox Plate 2012 odds at bookmaker.com.au, which are led by Mark Kavanagh’s undefeated filly Atlantic Jewel ($4), Xtension is rated a $31 chance.
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