Champion Hong Kong galloper Able Friend prepared by Aussie expat John Moore has arrived down under gearing up for a possible 2016 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign following a recovery from injury.
A tendon injury has prevented the Shamardal six-year-old from racing since his third to Maurice in the Group 2 Hong Kong Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin last December.
The five-time Group 1 winning gelding won the previous edition of the same race defeating Gold Fun in 2014 by over four lengths.
Able Friend boasts an ultra-consistent career record having finished out of the money just twice in his star-studded career and also has form down under having debuted in Sydney before heading to Hong Kong in 2013.
He is on the road to recovery now and Moore is eyeing a Group 1 win on Australian soil with the superstar who has amassed over $52 million HKD, or over $9 million AUD, in career prize money to date.
“He came in a couple of days ago,” Moore’s son and assistant trainer George, in Victoria for Melbourne’s Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, told Racing.com.
“Our vet Ben Mason, who used to work for us in Hong Kong, is going to look after him over here.
“He’s going to oversee everything.
“We’re going to do an MRI on his leg when he [Mason] gets here, so we can do a comparison in three months.
“Hopefully, we’re expecting him to recover after six months. We’re not going to do any operations on him.
“We’re just going to give him a break, hopefully he’ll heal himself.”
Moore, also a Bloodstock agent, confirmed his father already had a number of specific target races in mind for Able Friend during the Spring with the horse to hopefully bounce back to his best form.
“Dad’s targeted about 2-3 races over here, he’s still searching for his Group 1 in Australia, so he can hopefully do it with Able Friend,” he said.
“We’ve had Group 1s nearly everywhere else, but as Dad’s Australian, he wants to fill that dream of getting one over here.
“The horse did it [tough] in the big race on International Day, he was hanging on the last 200m when he was asked to pick up. He didn’t pick up like he usually does.
“But he’s a quiet horse, so if we don’t put too much pressure on that area, I think he’ll heal up.
“It’s a decent injury, we’re talking six months. We’ve had nearly three months off already, so another three months in the paddock with grass, he’ll enjoy that.”
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