Hong Kong’s Mighty High a 2011 Melbourne Cup hope

The John Moore-trained Mighty High, ridden by Darren Beadman, narrowly won the HK Group 1 Standard Chartered Champions and Chater Cup (2400m) at Sha Tin this afternoon.

The French import held on to defeat last year’s winner Mr Medici by a nose, with “the old warrior” Viva Pataca running a bold third at what might have been his final start.

Moore said he was confident before the race.

“He did look a handicap certainty if we could get him to the course in peak condition, but that was a bit closer than we thought,” Moore told the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Moore is already looking to bring Champions Mile winner Xtension for the Cox Plate, but his comments post-race suggested that Mighty High could also be headed to Australia.

“Darren got off and said he thought this would be a perfect horse for the Melbourne Cup,” Moore added.

A change in balloting conditions for the Melbourne Cup, announced earlier this year, means that only two races in Hong Kong qualify a horse for the first ballot condition – these being the Champions and Chater Cup and the Hong Kong Vase.

Mighty High’s owner Albert Hung approved an Australian trip straight away.

“This is my first G1 winner after many years of ownership – I’m very grateful to John for buying this horse for me, and very excited too,” Hung told the HKJC.

The winner’s stablemate, Viva Pataca, may have run his final race with a gutsy third.

Viva Pataca has been one of Hong Kong’s top horses, winning numerous Group 1s over a number of seasons.

“Viva ran another great race, but he’s missing a cylinder now and I’ll be recommending to Dr Ho, his owner, that we retire him,” Moore said.

Written by Andrew Hawkins

29 May 2011


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