The John Moore-trained More Than Ready (USA) gelding Eagle Way may have booked himself a ticket back to his native Australia later in the year after taking out the Group III Queen Mother Memorial Cup Handicap (2400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Eagle Way, who originally raced in Australia and won the Group I Queensland Derby over 2400m last June, remained unbeaten at a mile and a half as he edged clear of Group I 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 to Mr 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.
Winning rider Joao Moreira was impressed with Eagle Way and suggested he 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.”
Bred by Segenhoe Stud, Eagle Way was a $200,000 Inglis Easter purchase from the Segenhoe draft for George Moore Bloodstock and has won six of 19 starts.
He is a half-brother to stakes-winners Assertive Eagle, Impressive Eagle and Soaressa being the best of nine winners from Wedgetail Eagle.
Turning 20 this year, Wedgetail Eagle produced a colt by Choisir last spring and is in foal to Eagle Way’s sire More Than Ready.