Jealousy must be earned, success breeds contempt and success also speaks volumes and must be respected.
Whatever one might think of him, trainer John Moore is the Frank Sinatra of Hong Kong racing who does things his way- and they work- and like Ol’ Blue Eyes did when he basically ran Vegas with his Rat Pack, he has the support of the Club De Moore to launch his well-planned assaults on the most important Group races in Hong Kong with truly International horsepower.
It’s like owning a club, bar or restaurant where you’re either Gilbert Yeung with his dragon-i premises or Bonnie Gokson playing the plastic fantastic “dahling” at Sevva or able to pay the exorbitant rents at the IFC building, OR scaling down ambitions and can only afford to open a new Joe Bananas, and make the best of it as the F&B business is all you know.
Same with training horses and where a career change can never be contemplated ‘cos it’s all one knows.
On Sunday, Military Attack came out and spanked its rivals- four of the seven runners belonging to Club De Moore- in the running of the Hong Kong Gold Cup.
Yes, us included, might point out that the winner really fires at this time of the year and his supposed flops were simply prep runs before attacking the Gold Cup, and, well, so what? Cry like ninnies? The mission was a success.
Was it unfair for jockey Zac Purton to lose the ride?
Here, it gets complicated and where objectivity and subjectivity clash.
For whatever reason- and despite what we understand were promises made by owner Steven Lo that Purton would keep the ride after all he had achieved on and with Military Attack, it went to Joao Moreira- and the Brazilian ace almost did the samba all the way to the winning post with the rest of the conga line looking muchos loco and tired, moochachos.
Okay, Akeed Mofeed might have received a slight knock that could have put him off stride, and off his game for a second, but that’s racing and the difference between winning and losing. And if Akeed is this sensitive a horse with deep-rooted mood swings, it might need a shrink and not a trainer.
As for all the talk about Blazing Speed stepping up to the plate, if he did, we didn’t see it. Whatever fire he had was doused.
Just as Earthquake proved to every other runner in The Blue Diamond yesterday, Military Attack brushed it off like a flea. It simply wasn’t good enough.
From a long-term point of view, what is of concern is that whenever the Group races roll into town, most trainers can only roll over and let Club De Moore run the Shatin strip like Sinatra, Sammy, Dean, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford ran Vegas and mixed with Presidents and the mafia and offered them Hollywood on a platter.
Why do other trainers just roll over and want their tummies tickled?
They simply don’t have the horsepower.
Why is that?
Possibly bad planning and management and simply not having the owners with the financial support system to do so.
Why is that?
Because, simply put, that’s the way it’s always been and no one has read The Art Of Way and even if they have, there has been no headway made to thwart the enemy.
Richard Gibson has, to an extent, but take away Gold Fun and Akeed Mofeed and what’s left? Apart from these two gallopers and owner Pan Sutong plus Miss Kitty and a parrot, there’s nothing much else in the garage.
John Moore, however, has an entire army to go to battle for him and win the wars over all ground and all distances.
Is it fair? Well, it’s not UNFAIR -and since when was life fair?
Many recite the same mantra how ” the Moores only care about the Moores.” And?
When is it a crime to say that family comes first?
Ask ANYONE in racing- and in life- and, Yah, family DOES come first.
John Moore trains and plays to win and if, these days, he is, well, playing with himself- no, not THAT way- ‘cos no one else has the marbles big enough to knock his big balls outta the winner’s circle, what’s the solution?
Review the Musical “Stop The World, I Want To Get Off” and wheel in Antony Newley to sing, What Kind Of Fool Am I?
John Moore was an average jockey riding mainly owner Herbert Kees’ Harrington and Carrington- average horses- when Brother Gary was Hong Kong’s Golden Boy of racing and riding Mabuhay for owner Stanley Ho, Grasshopper Green etc and going to be the next George Moore. That never happened.
Brother John has built up his own identity through, yes, the legacy his legendary father left behind, but also through hard work from being Assistant to George Moore from 1971, becoming a trainer in his own right in 1985, and always- always- having the persuasive skills that have brought very good horses to his stable- along with supportive owners.
There was Makurpura Star- and those who never saw its first win under the brilliant and enigmatic Eric Saint Martin, missed out on something very special.
There was Motivation, Able Friend, Sunny Sing, Viva Pataca, Collection, Xtension and, of course, the NEW stars he has today.
In those days, there was only the mighty figure of Ivan “The Terrible” Allan to offer him any competition- on and off the track- as he had owner Larry Yung in his corner when
Today, who is there to offer any competition to the Rise And Rise Of More Moore? No one. And who’s fault is that? Not John Moore’s, surely?
He’s just gone about his business- as a businessman- and in business, there are the Trumps and the chumps and with no time for winning Popularity Stakes- especially in horse racing where nice guys end up last and, for a trainer like John Moore, where most jockeys are easily discardable.
We might not agree with his modus operandus and can’t help but think about the jockeys who have gone through the Moore Mill- our great mate Noel Barker, Brian York, an on-off relationship with the equally on-off Eric Saint Martin who was a fascinating animal when still a jockey, Darren Beadman, Zac Purton, and, following a horses for courses strategy, using Weichong Marwing- though this seems over- Douglas Whyte, Neil Callan, apprentice Dickie Lui, even local jockeys Derek Leung and Eddie Lai, flying in Tommy Berry, but now knowing he has a great new option- ‘cos- poof- like magic- there’s Joao Moreira who talks softly, carries a big stick and delivers.
So where is all this heading and has the HKJC created a monster like the man-eating plant in The Little Shop Of Horrors who screamed, “FEED ME!”
Created, no- but more to do with “evolvement” and many other trainers expecting the mountain to come to Mohammed and way too busy whining to see what was happening right under their noses and putting their own houses- and stables- in order.
And now what?
No one is indispensable- BUT, what will Hong Kong racing be without John Moore and his International class group of horses? Like racing in Australia would be without Gai Waterhouse.
Sure, Lady GaiGai has her critics, but she also has the racing world Down Under by its balls- and for all the huffing and puffing and ridiculous showboating by Peter V’Lundies and more legal costs, he ain’t gonna blow the House Of Waterhouse down.
Put those legal fees to better use and help out the battling trainers, Mr V’Lundies and cut out this Quixotic fixation. It’s downright creepy.
As for John Moore, he’s sitting pretty knowing that sticks and stones might break his bones, but that words will never hurt him.
Like receiving a timely “reprieve” from retiring at 65, he has an additional five years to keep going like the Ever Ready Rabbit knowing full well that no matter what might be said behind his back, every jockey in Hong Kong would jump through hoops and walk on fire to ride for him.
To paraphrase Dr Hunter S Thompson, What a strange and twisted journey it’s been for John Moore from riding Harrington at Happy Valley and playing second banana to Brother Gary to being top banana in Hong Kong racing.