In the space of two months earlier this year, between January and March, Able Friend (Aus) (Shamardal) and Designs On Rome (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor) set themselves a class apart from their fellow 4-year-olds, with Able Friend knocking off his more long-winded rival at 'his trip' in the Hong Kong Classic Mile before Designs on Rome turned the tables in the Hong Kong Classic Cup and in one of the more memorable Hong Kong Derbies of recent times. The two have gone their separate ways since.
Some 40 minutes after Able Friend left the Hong Kong Mile field in tatters, Designs On Rome did his part, coming from last with a half-mile to race to just outbob former stablemate Military Attack (Ire) (Oratorio) under a perfectly judged ride from Joao "Magic Man" Moreira in the HK$25million G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup.
"We had set him for this," said winning trainer John Moore, who also called the shots up until this season on Military Attack. "I said all week I was confident he would peak for this race. Joao had him stoked up at the right time and he was very tough. It was an excellent win and I'd be keen to campaign him overseas."
"He's an amazing horse. He gave me a great kick today and was so strong through the line," said Moreira, who also paid tribute to Tommy Berry for the work he'd done on the winner. "I was able to turn for home not too far off the leaders, and the leaders had gone quite hard. I just had to challenge the horses in front of me, who were hard to get past, but he's proven himself such a good horse and he's got the job done. He does have such a great turn of foot. Military Attack was fighting towards the line but he got there."
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News / scmp (p)