HK Hope Able One Sneaks Away in Champions Mile

(from Hong Kong Jockey Club report)
Local outsider Able One led from start to finish to virtually steal the Champions Mile (HK-I) Sunday at Sha Tin in a triumph for Hong Kong, with John Moore training the victor and the runner-up, Joyful Winner.

Able One was superbly rated by Irishman Mick Kinane to lead through the first 800 meters in an ambling :49 seconds and then sprint home the closing 800 meters in a slick :45.5 seconds to give his pursuers little chance.

The beaten jockeys, virtually to a man, declared the lack of pace the reason for the failure of their mounts. "The other jockeys were sleeping out the back," declared Moore.

Winning rider Kinane, in contrast, was very much awake, out-gunning his colleagues to secure Able One's fourth victory in ten starts in Hong Kong and his third from four at 1,600 meters on right handed tracks.

"I couldn't believe how they let Able One dictate the race from the front," Moore said. "Mick said he had plenty of horse under him and once he kicked he got to the line very strongly. To run one-two is a dream."

Moore has not enjoyed his best season in Hong Kong after his stable was hit by the equine herpes virus outbreak. It was little wonder he was overjoyed after the Champions Mile. Of course, the icing on the cake was to come.

Able One was Moore's second group I winner of the season and, just 40 minutes later, he had a third with Viva Pataca capturing the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup with Kinane again in the saddle.

With the victory, Able One earned an automatic starting position in the $2 million NetJets Breeders Cup Mile (gr. IT), which will be run on Saturday, October 27 at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. The Champions Mile is the first of 25 qualifying races under the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” format, and the only international Challenge race in the series.

Moore has much to ponder in terms of major races with his quinella horses. "To run one-two with Joyful Winner is a dream. I guess we have the invitation to run in the Breeders' Cup now and we'll have to think about it. Maybe racing the other way around would cure Able One's tendency to hang," the trainer said.  

Runner-up Joyful Winner, ridden by Darren Beadman, was the best of the closers in a race dominated from the front.

Most attention pre-race centered on the local improver Good Ba Ba and the South African visitor Linngari, but they finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

The Duke completed a Hong Kong tierce in third after trailing Able One in the run.