The John Moore-trained Designs On Rome (4g Holy Roman Emperor-Summer Trysting, by Alleged) booked his ticket to the G1 Hong Kong Derby when winning the Hong Kong Classic Cup, a local G1, at Sha Tin on Sunday.
The Moyglare Stud-bred son of Holy Roman Emperor, whose career began with Pat Flynn in Ireland, got up to beat stablemate Able Friend by a length and a half
(1800m) at Sha Tin racecourse today, Sunday 16 February, as Designs On Rome enhanced his HKG1 BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) credentials under Tommy Berry.
“The Derby’s on the horizon and it looks as though Designs On Rome should be winning that sort of race on his run today, because there’s still a little bit more improvement, and if there is, he could be devastating,” said Moore.
“I’m over the moon. The ride was very tactical, it did test Able Friend’s stamina and that’s what won the race. I’ve had four and five runners in the Derby before but having these two horses going into the Derby, I would have to say is the pinnacle of my career.”
Jockey Tommy Berry was impressed with the winner and added: “When I won on him on his last start last season, I said to John ‘can I book my flight for the Derby now?’ because I knew he was a Derby horse a long way out.
“I love the way (Designs On Rome) pins his ears back and really finds the line. Onwards and upwards to the Derby now! “His last start it looked like he was taking a fair bit of ground off Able Friend but I believe the last 100m that day he tied up, and John’s very good at timing his horses for the big races so he still had plenty of improvement today. He pulled up and had a nice blow.”.
On the same card, Holy Roman Emperor was also responsible for Charles The Great (4g Holy Roman Emperor-Jojeema, by Barathea) who finished second in another local G1, the Chairman’s Sprint Prize.