Holy Roman Emperor’s son Designs On Rome (5g Holy Roman Emperor-Summer Trysting, by Alleged) confirmed himself one of the Hong Kong greats of recent years when winning the HK$10 million G1 Citibank Hong Kong Gold Cup at Sha Tin on Sunday.
John Moore’s charge, bred in Ireland by Moyglare Stud, was adding a third international G1 to his CV, following last year’s G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup and G1 Audemars Piguet QEII Cup, and he is next set to showcase his talents further afield in the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan at the end of March.
“He is such a special horse,” said jockey Joao Moreira after the five-year-old’s length and a quarter victory. “I’m looking forward to Dubai now.”
Moreira settled Hong Kong’s Horse of the Year second last in the eight-runner field. As is his style, Designs On Rome had to be chased along exiting the backstretch with around 800 metres to race. Last and widest turning into the home straight, Moreira got down into the drive position and Designs On Rome responded powerfully.
“I wouldn’t say that was easy because I really had to ride him strongly to the line,” added the winning rider. “The pace wasn’t as fast as we wanted but then we were always going to catch up with his great turn of foot. A furlong to go I knew I was going to win and then I was just pushing him to the line and I was celebrating almost as we crossed the line.”
Moore paid tribute to the horse’s street-fighting attitude that he hopes will deliver another major prize at the end of this month. Designs On Rome’s eight wins from 15 starts in Hong Kong also include last season’s HKG1 BMW Hong Kong Derby and the HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Cup.
“This will be the first time we will have ever travelled him for a race,” said Moore, looking forward to Dubai. “Of course, he travelled here to begin with and he did show good form straight away, but we have to look at the travelling.
“As I said going into the race, I thought he was the fittest he has been all season and he showed everybody just that. We’ll just make sure there is nothing amiss with him now and we will aim to have him in the same condition when we present him for the Dubai Sheema Classic.”