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Military Attack on target in Premier Plate

Report: Hong Kong, Sunday

Sha Tin: Premier Plate (Group 3)1m1f, turf, handicap

MILITARY ATTACK (John Moore/Zac Purton) showed why connections opted to swerve a trip to Meydan to contest the Dubai Duty Free by winning a lesser prize at home, the Premier Plate, setting up a genuine bid for the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup at the end of April.

Formerly known as Rave when trained by John Hills, Military Attack easily won the Group 1 Citibank Hong Kong Gold Cup over 1m2f last month with Purton in the saddle for the first time when the Oratorio gelding raced much more prominently.

On this occasion Purton seized the initiative again as he went forward when every other jockey seemed content to bide their time.

Even though he carried top weight of 9st 7lb, Military Attack was hardly taxed in setting dawdling sections of 24.3, 25.0 and 24.03 mid-race before kicking clear in the straight to score by half a length from another ex-English trained, Irish-bred import, Aomen.

"He dictated terms and stayed on well. He's really earned a crack at the QEII Cup now and Zac gets on great with him. He's only five and I think he still has plenty more to offer," trainer John Moore said before jetting out to Dubai where he saddles Frederick Engels in the Golden Shaheen on March 30.  

Hong Kong will also be represented at the big meeting at Meydan by Joy And Fun and Eagle Regiment in the Al Quoz sprint.

Doug Whyte - Sha Tin - 2004

Doug Whyte:n bagged four-timer

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker  

Jockey Doug Whyte rode four winners on the card before beginning a two-meeting suspension next week.

Three of Whyte's winners came for John Size on maiden winners Hypersonic and Good Friends Magic and the impressive, unbeaten in four starts Sea Dragon. The four-timer was completed when Gurus Dream obliged for Dennis Yip.

Purton, Whyte's nearest pursuer, remains in the champion's slipstream and was probably lucky to benefit from Whyte's one mishap on the day when Little Men was badly hampered in traffic enabling Why Not to win and make the jockeys championship read 65-59 at the end of the meeting.

The season does not end until July and there is still plenty to play for, but Whyte is favourite to win a 13th consecutive title.

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