The fabulous Designs On Rome (4g Holy Roman Emperor-Summer Trysting, by Alleged) put in a brilliantly tough performance at Sha Tin on Sunday to land the G1 Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup.
The Moyglare Stud-bred son of Holy Roman Emperor fought off stablemate and defending champion Military Attack to win the HK$14 million contest and become only the third horse to win that G1 and the Hong Kong Derby in the same season.
“He is outstanding,” said trainer John Moore. “I’ve got my hands on a very good one but I told all the public quite a while ago that I thought he was international Group 1 class.”
The trainer, claiming his fourth victory in Hong Kong’s 2,000m spring showcase, will now aim to seal championship honours in Hong Kong for Designs On Rome before considering overseas options next year.
“I think he is Hong Kong’s champion now,” added Moore. “I think after winning that today he’d be Horse of the Year. He will go on, barring setbacks, to the Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup to really seal the deal.
“Of course, he hasn’t travelled yet, he still has to do it offshore but what he’s done so far is show that he’s very talented. He’s going to mix it with the very best. I know the owner is very keen to go to Dubai next year on the turf. He’s keen to go and prove the horse’s ability, so I’m looking forward to that, but let’s take it race by race.”
It was an emotional success for jockey Tommy Berry, who lost his brother Nathan weeks earlier, and he added: “We haven’t found the bottom of this fellow yet. He loves a dogfight – I’ll be surprised the day he gets beat because he never gives up and the day he does get beat it’ll be because one was too good for him.
“You saw what he did in the Derby, he made a very long run and it was a smaller field today so he was obviously going to pick them up a bit quicker.”
Hong Kong Jockey Club CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges commented: “Having a four-year-old back-up from the Hong Kong Derby and win the AP QEII Cup is a major achievement, and history has shown that only very good horses can do it. The first four horses are top-class and today’s race oozed class.”
On a great day for Holy Roman Emperor at Sha Tin, Charles The Great (5g Holy Roman Emperor-Jojeema, by Barathea) won the Sprint Cup, a local G2 event. The five-year-old was bred in Ireland by Michael Woodlock and Seamus Kennedy.