Eagle Way books trip to Australia after Queen Mother Memorial Cup win

April 30, 2017 08:15am
Eagle Way wins 2017 Queen Mother Memorial Cup
Photo: The Hong Kong Jockey Club

John Moore-trained Eagle Way may have booked himself a ticket back to his native Australia later in the year after taking out the Group 3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup Handicap (2400m) at Sha Tin this afternoon (Sunday, 30 April).


Eagle Way, who originally raced down under and won the G1 Queensland Derby over 2400m last June, remained unbeaten at a mile and a half as he edged clear of G1 Grand Prix de Paris (2400m) winner Helene Charisma to take Hong Kong’s only 2400m handicap by three-quarters of a length.


Moore scored his fifth Queen Mother Memorial Cup win with Eagle Way and the trainer, who owned the chestnut in Australia when he was prepared by Brisbane handler Bryan Guy, said it was satisfying to see the import bring his decent staying form to Hong Kong.


“I’m really pleased with that result,” Moore said. “We bought Eagle Way from the Inglis Easter sales but we were left with him and so we sent him up to Bryan in Queensland and he did a great job, he won the Derby with him. So we sold him toMr Siu, who has been one of the stable’s staunchest supporters, and the horse has done what he had to do!”


“Everything worked out well for the front two and if there had been a little more cut in the ground, I think they might have gone head and head to the line, Helene Charisma might have made up another length. They’ll both head to the Champions & Chater Cup now and we’ll see after that.”


The Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) is Hong Kong’s final G1 of the season and will be run on 28 May.


Joao Moreira, who scooped a feature race double on Sunday’s card when he added the G1 Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m) aboard another chestnut in Japanese galloper Neorealism, suggested that Eagle Way had more in store, both for the Champions & Chater Cup and for next season.


“He is a serious horse, a serious stayer,” the Brazilian said. “He has shown for weeks now that 2400m is his goal, and he showed that already when he won the Queensland Derby. Today, we saw the best of him so far in Hong Kong, but I think John can still improve him. He is fit, but I think that with John’s talent as a trainer, he can take the horse to the next level where he will be a Group 1-quality horse.”


Helene Charisma’s jockey Douglas Whyte echoed Moore’s sentiments in suggesting the Air Chief Marshal colt may need a softer surface to find his best.


“I thought I was coming to win the race but Eagle Way dug down and found something when needed,” Whyte said. “A bit more juice in the track might have given us a different result but today he came to win the race and just held back a little bit, he didn’t let down. He was trying to hang in towards Joao.”


Moore suggested that both Eagle Way and Helene Charisma could head to Melbourne later this year for races like the G1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) in October and the G1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) in November.


“They are the type of horses that could be Melbourne-bound because they’re dead-set mile-and-half to two-mile horses,” he said. “Of the two that fought it out, it was a delight to watch – two very, very good stayers. I don't want to jump the start but they’re ideal for Melbourne. The Hong Kong off-season doesn’t make it easy with lead-ups, but they are the sort of horses you’d want down there. They’re pretty decent!”

Third-placed Gold Mount improved off a poor BMW Hong Kong Derby effort. Tony Cruz’s trainee was another who had form over the distance before he arrived in Hong Kong, having won the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot last June, and rider Silvestre de Sousa was pleased with the improved effort.


“He ran a good race,” he said. “He was never travelling early on but he finished off well. If he’d been able to hold his spot early on, he would have been able to give them a fight, but it’s a step in the right direction.”


John Size pair Dinozzo and Prawn Baba finished fourth and fifth in what was a clean sweep for the four-year-old crop, with the first five across the line all having raced in the Derby behind Rapper Dragon.


Moore’s Beauty Generation, who beat Eagle Way in the Class 2 lead-up on 9 April, faded into a 13-length eighth after a box-seat run.


“I thought he might run a better race but he’s looking like he’s over the top,” Moore said, with jockey Zac Purton adding: “He had his chance, he just raced a bit flat today.”


The final time of 2m 25.48s was the third-fastest time recorded in 71 pattern races over 2400m in Hong Kong. Viva Patacaowns the record of 2m 24.60s from the 2007 Champions and Chater Cup, while Red Bishop clocked 2m 25.10s in the inaugural Hong Kong Vase in 1994.  

Source: The Hong Kong Jockey Club
(Andrew Hawkins)


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