Trainer John Moore believes that a strong performance last weekend has Eagle Way right on song to defend his title in Sunday’s (6 May) G3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup Handicap (2400m) at Sha Tin.
Eagle Way stepped out in last Sunday’s (29 April) G1 Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m). He was no match for runaway winner Pakistan Star, but he found the line strongly to finish third, just over four lengths from the Tony Cruz-trained victor.
“He’s come through the run terrific, he’s pulled up as good as ever,” Moore said. “He’s eaten up, he’s very healthy and I couldn’t be happier. And the run itself was really good, he got blocked a couple of times on the turn and if he didn’t, I think he may have run second.
“We were delighted with the run, he’s finished in the placings behind a horse in Pakistan Star that produced a world-class effort. If there is any rain around over the next couple of days, it will only enhance his chances.”
Only three horses have won this race in consecutive years, the most recent being the Moore-trained Dominant. In fact, Moore has won four of the last six runnings of the Queen Mother Memorial Cup, with Helene Happy Star’s win in 2015 joining Dominant’s 2012/13 double and Eagle Way’s victory last year.
“Like Dominant, Eagle Way is a horse that relishes the 2400m,” Moore said. “We don’t get many opportunities at the trip so we have to step him out whenever they come along. Dominant won the (LONGINES Hong Kong) Vase after winning two of these, so maybe Eagle Way can do the same later this year!”
The Queen Mother Memorial Cup is one of only three races at 2400m throughout the Hong Kong season and serves as a key lead-up to the G1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup, to be run at the course and distance on 27 May.