Horse Racing
Moore’s City seeks stylish start to new season

By Declan Schuster
30/08/2019 17:34

Styling City cruises to victory for Joao Moreira.
Styling City cruises to victory for Joao Moreira.

John Moore is upbeat about Styling City’s (113lb) chances of delivering a feature race win in Sunday’s (1 September) Class 1 HKSAR Chief Executive’s Cup Handicap (1200m) at Sha Tin’s season opener.

“He’s well-weighted, he trialled well and it’s all systems go. He looked good in his trial, he pulled up happy and he’s got Moreira on board,” Moore said.

With another summer under his belt, Styling City returns as a four-year-old following two successful campaigns that yielded five wins and saw him test his mettle unsuccessfully at G1 level.

The son of Starspangldbanner, whose wins have all come down Sha Tin’s 1000m straight, is yet to win above Class 2 level but Moore believes Sunday could see him prove his Class 1 abilities.

“I think he can take a step forward from what he’s done previously, especially in this sort of race with not many runners,” Moore said.

“There’s not an abundance of speed in the race so that should suit him down to the ground. He’s drawn well; he should be doing it easy up front in that sort of race. I think he’ll be close.”

As well as added maturity, Styling City will return as a gelding as he aims to join an impressive honour roll of past winners. That list includes Lucky Nine who claimed victory in 2010 before stepping up to win the Hong Kong Classic Mile four starts later and then advanced to become a multiple G1-winning Champion Sprinter.

Styling City scores his third consecutive win last season.

Styling City will reunite with Joao Moreira for the first time in two seasons, their initial partnership having reaped two wins from three outings together. The Brazilian ace was in the plate for a recent trial, pushing the gelding through his paces over 1000m at Sha Tin.

“That was a big break between the time I rode him in the Griffin races until the next time, which was his last trial,” he said. “Since then he has done very well, he has won a number of races with other jockeys on board and he’s definitely a much more mature horse – he’s a different horse than what he used to be when I used to ride him.

“The trial itself was very good, John asked me to look after him and not go too hard but I couldn’t have been more pleased with how he trialled,” he said.

The chestnut will face off against a small but competitive field of seven, which includes last year’s victor Winner’s Way (124lb), Wishful Thinker (133lb), G1 Stewards’ Cup winner Seasons Bloom (132lb) and the unbeaten Regency Legend (119lb).

“A small field can be a bit tricky but he is one of those who has gate speed, so he should be up there on the pace and I’m quite looking forward to Sunday,” Moreira added.

Regency Legend is unbeaten in three.
Regency Legend is unbeaten in three.

The Danny Shum duo of Regency Legend and Seasons Bloom will take their places. The former is looking to remain unbeaten at just his fourth start, while the latter is seeking to recapture the form that saw him win this contest in 2017 en route to a G1 Stewards’ Cup success in early 2018.

“Seasons Bloom trialled well at Conghua but he’ll carry 132lb and as a small horse it might be a bit tough for him, as well as too short,” Shum said.

New arrival Blake Shinn will partner Seasons Bloom, while reigning champion jockey Zac Purton retains the mount on Regency Legend.

“It might be a bit short for him (Seasons Bloom) but his trial was nice and his work has been really good,” Shinn said.

Regency Legend will break from gate five in his bid to maintain a perfect record.

“He had a soft trial the other day, we didn’t ask him to do a lot – I probably would have liked him to tow me in a little bit more than what he did but I was still happy with his trial and I’m sure he would have come on a little bit from it,” Purton said.

“He has no weight on his back so it’s a suitable race if he’s good enough,” he added.

Aldo Domeyer is ready to return.
Aldo Domeyer is ready to return.

Winner’s Way is looking for back-to-back wins in this race, teaming up with Aldo Domeyer, who returns following a successful 13-win stint at the back-end of last season.

“There’s ability and he’s calmed down a lot which is a positive, the rating he ran off at the start of last season shows that he is capable. He doesn’t quite encourage you in his trials but they do say that’s what he does,” Domeyer said.

“Things went quite nicely, I think the most positive thing about last season was that I rode a lot of winners for various people, so the support was nicely widespread,” he added.

Sunday’s 10-race card commences at 1pm with the Class 5 Mount Butler Handicap (1600m).