Moore jets in aiming to hit the heights on Ping Hai Star in Derby
Preview: Hong Kong, Sunday (8.35am GMT)
Sha Tin: BMW Hong Kong Derby | Local Group 1 | Turf | 4yo | ATR/RUK
There are not many trophies left for Ryan Moore to add to his collection, but one such is the Hong Kong Derby's.
Moore has come close to claiming the race, finishing second aboard Got Fly in 2015, which carries a purse of HK$18 million (£1.65m/€1.87m), and were he to succeed he would be the first successful British rider this century.
David Harrison was the last winning British jockey, riding outsider Holy Grail in 1999, and Moore looks to have a great opportunity to end the drought on the John Size-trained Ping Hai Star.
Unbeaten in three starts this year, Ping Hai Star's emergence as a contender for the race has been rapid, but he has to prove his stamina for a mile and a quarter, with his trio of wins coming over even furlongs.
Ping Hai Star has been to Happy Valley to trial over further in preparation for the race, and Hong Kong's leading rider, Joao Moreira, is wary of the threat Moore's mount possesses.
Moreria has opted to stick with stablemate Nothingilikemore, and said of Ping Hai Star when talking to the South China Morning Post: "Ping Hai Star's a very nice type. He's talented, he's got so much ability. He is a bit strong, he pulls a bit, but Ryan has soft and amazing hands, and if he can get him to relax in the race, I wouldn't be surprised if he’s the one dashing to run everyone else down.
"The only doubts are can he handle the distance and can he settle? If he can and if he does it in a proper way, he’s going to be the one."
Nothingilikemore won the Classic Mile two starts back when defeating Singapore Sling, but that form was reversed over nine furlongs in the Classic Cup when Singapore Sling came out on top, with Nothingilikemore fourth.
A slow start cost Nothingilikemore that day, but a successful stalls trial earlier in the week convinced Moreira to stick with Nothingilikemore.
He added: "Last start in the Hong Kong Classic Cup, Nothingilikemore was hot favourite and I think he should have won the race.
"Before that he was able to dominate most of these horses in the Classic Mile, and the amount of success this horse has given to me is more than Ping Hai Star has been able to achieve. If Nothingilikemore does everything right then he could be the winner."
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