No Hong Kong joy for Irish as Aerovelocity takes Sprint

John Moore and Joao Moreira claim big double at Sha Tin

Irish stars Gordon Lord Byron and Sole Power were out of luck in the Longines Hong Kong Sprint, which was won by Aerovelocity.

Gordon Lord Byron fared best of the duo in fourth, even though Wayne Lordan was hard at work a long way from home in Sha Tin's Group One over six furlongs.

Sole Power was given a typically patient ride from Richard Hughes, but he failed to pick up as trainer Eddie Lynam might have expected and was well beaten in ninth place.

The winner, trained by Paul O'Sullivan and ridden by Zac Purton, bounced out of stall seven and made all of the running to keep former Richard Fahey inmate Peniaphobia at bay by a slender margin.

Japanese hope Straight Girl finished third.

Tom Hogan was proud of Gordon Lord Byron, who was finishing fourth at the big Hong Kong meeting in December for a third consecutive season.

The Co Tipperary handler said: “He ran a great race, but the winning jockey did brilliantly as it was a pretty quick time.

“We were very happy with him. Every time he produces his run and never lets us down.

“No European has ever won this race so it shows you it difficult it is.

“We’ll take him home for his Christmas dinner and then work out what we do with him next.”

The John Moore-trained Designs On Rome came with a strong late bid under Joao Moreira to prevail by Military Attack in a breathless finale to the Hong Kong Cup.

Hong Kong Cup regular Cirrus Des Aigles was a late injury scare but delivered a typically honest performance to take fourth spot.

Moore said: “Joao has done a great job in getting to know this horse. You have to stoke him up and produce him at the right time. If you keep kicking he’ll always give you a length or so. ”

Moreira said: “This is really a dream come true for me. It takes a while for the penny to drop with him, but when it does he’s very good.”

Trainer Corine Barande-Barbe felt Cirrus Des Aigles was always chasing the game on turf that was too fast.

She said: “That ground is quicker than ideal for him, he can never give 100 per cent on it, but you can see that he hasn’t a care in the world.

“He absolutely loves the travelling. It will be the same kind of plan for him next year and we will be heading off to Dubai again, as long as he’s okay.”

Moore and Moreira were completing a double after Able Friend turned in a virtuoso display to win the Hong Kong Mile.

The deeply talented five-year-old surged to a four-and-a-quarter-length victory from Gold-Fun, who also finished second in the Group One 12 months ago.

Gold-Fun had briefly looked to have pinched the race from the front, but Moreira suddenly arrived from the chasing pack deep inside the final furlong to claim victory in the manner of a seriously good horse.

Grand Prix Boss finished third and World Ace was fourth, but British challengers Trade Storm and Captain Cat lacked the gears to go with the protagonists.

Moreira said: “He’s definitely the best horse I’ve sat on.”

Trade Storm ended up finishing seventh in the hands of Jamie Spencer, with the Roger Charlton-trained Captain Cat last of the 10 starters.

Spencer confirmed his retirement from the saddle is now likely.

He said: “It looks like that’s my last ride. I’ll be heading home tonight and hopefully getting some sleep.”

Of Trade Storm, the rider said: “I thought the ground might be on the quick side, but I thought it was firmer than that and it didn’t really suit him.”

Jockey James Doyle felt something went amiss with Captain Cat at the start.

Doyle said: “He was a little bit restless in the gates, and I think something spooked him.”

Able Friend could eventually end up competing at the Dubai World Cup meeting next year.

Moore said: “He’s definitely one of the most exciting horses I’ve had, I’m a very lucky person.

“He’s got an explosive turn of foot and when he saw daylight, he quickly put the race to bed.

“His next race will be the (Hong Kong) Stewards’ Cup and I’ll do my best to convince the owner to let me take him to Dubai for the Duty Free.”