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HONG KONG: Champion trainer John Moore bounced back in the best possible way from disappointment in Australia when sending out Jacobee in perfect sunshine to snatch the HKG3 Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse at Sha Tin on 16 October.

The trainer was saddling his third Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse winner in the last five years after back to back victories in 2007 and 2008 with Viva Macau, and the race was a triumph too for Hong Kong overseas rookie jockey Tim Clark who was completing the first double of his Hong Kong career as well as taking his first Hong Kong Group victory. 

“He’s such a consistent horse” said Moore of the winner. “He’s as honest as the day is long. Maybe he’s just a touch below the very best in Hong Kong, but he’s so genuine you know he’ll keep producing his best whoever he’s up against. I suppose the only race for him now will be the 2000m G2 Cathay Pacific Jockey Club Cup on 20 November because he’s sure to go up around six pounds for this win, but you can be sure he’ll give that a good go too.” 

For Clark, who has been showing plenty of consistency himself since the start of the season, with a succession of placed efforts to go with a single winner, this was the day he finally struck it rich. Clark paid his own tribute to the horse who gave him the Hong Kong Group breakthrough: “He’s a really tough horse and although he’s getting up in the grades now he just keeps trying. Everything panned out perfect for us today. We got a lovely sit in behind the leaders and then once he’d hit the front he always had it in control.” 

The improving Familists showed he too could step up in grade when keeping on strongly for jockey Tye Angland and trainer David Hall to take second, and the front-running Super Pistachio, ridden by Matthew Chadwick and trained by Tony Cruz, stayed on doggedly for third.

Some of the other strongly fancied contenders, including the John Moore-trained Destined For Glory and Fat Choy Oohlala, failed to make the expected impression. It seemed that Fat Choy Oohlala couldn’t quite cope with top weight and the longer trip, while Moore said that: “Destined For Glory is a son of Azamour and they’re often a bit temperamental. Maybe this race came a bit close to his last effort behind Ambitious Dragon, and he was a bit fresh. But he’ll be all right next time he runs, after he’s had a little break.” 

This was the day the sun shone on the righteous though as Jacobee, the model racehorse, stepped into the breach left open by his more strongly touted stablemate to take his share of glory. It was the day he and his similarly consistent jockey put their rivals in the shade.

The meeting, for which the weather could not have been any better if it had been ordered in spite of worries earlier in the week, allowed all the traditional elegance of Ladies’ Day at Sha Tin. A crowd of 64, 541, over 60,000 for the seventh year in a row on Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse Day, attended the two racecourses, and total turnover for the meeting was HK$1.102 billion.