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Helene Paragon ��ready to rumble�� as Moore calls on Bowman


By David Morgan

Hugh Bowman and John Moore forged a potent partnership when the jockey steered the trainer’s Werther to two prestige wins and Hong Kong Horse of the Year honours last season. On Sunday (20 November), Bowman will arrive from a Saturday assignment in Perth and attempt to continue the successful combination aboard a new project, Helene Paragon.

The four-year-old had the aura of a star being born when streaking to a pair of impressive wins at the end of last season - the Polan colt’s first campaign in Hong Kong. This term, the horse that broke his career maiden at San Sebastian in northern Spain has taken time to find his feet. Two below-par efforts to commence the season raised doubts, but then faith was restored two weeks ago thanks to a surging second in the G3 Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse (1800m).

“I think he was just rusty and on the big side for those first couple of runs this season,” Moore said. “He just needed to get back in the groove and at his third run he showed that he’s now ready to rumble.”

Zac Purton was in the plate for that most recent performance, but with the former Hong Kong champion booked to ride the opposing Beauty Only in Sunday’s G2 BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Mile, and with last season’s successful pilot Joao Moreira aboard champion miler Sun Jewellery, Moore has turned to Bowman to take the hot seat.

“He’s Australia’s premier rider so we’re happy to have him back up here in Hong Kong. He’s riding on quite a wave so hopefully he can bring that here this Sunday,” Moore said of the man who recently rode the outstanding Winx to back-to-back G1 Cox Plate wins. Bowman has been Australia’s most successful G1 rider in each of the past two seasons and has five top bracket wins on the board this term.

Moore anticipates a big run from Helene Paragon, the stable’s potential number one hope for December’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile, depending on whether or not Able Friend participates in that race.

“Helene Paragon’s back,” Moore said. “He showed us that last time and he’ll be hitting the line like he did in his last race, I’m sure.”

Helene Paragon overcame the wide 14 barrier and carried top-weight of 133lb to a three-quarter length second in the Ladies’ Purse, a concession of 13lb to the winner, the talented Horse Of Fortune.

“It was a great run last start at the weights - that was a return to form,” Moore declared. “He’s drawn well enough in gate seven this time and I think he’s one of the horses to beat in the race. He’s going to get the gun run back in behind and Hugh’s got fabulous hands, so I’m sure he’ll get him to settle.

Moores confidence in Sundays team

Bowman will also get the leg up on Moore’s Not Listenin’tome in Sunday’s G2 BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Sprint (1200m), a horse he has partnered three times previously without success.

The talented bay has not been at his best in five runs since a Class 1 victory down Sha Tin’s 1000m straight last March, and that includes two out-of-frame efforts this season; latterly a four and a quarter-length eighth behind the re-opposing Lucky Bubbles in the G2 Premier Bowl Handicap at the course and distance.

“I’m putting the hood back on for the first time in more than a year - he’s won with the hood,” Moore revealed.

“He’s done everything right going into this race. He trialled really nicely last week and Hugh Bowman’s back in the saddle, so we’re looking for a good run to put him on song for the Hong Kong Sprint next month.”

Bowman will also climb aboard Helene Happy Star, Moore’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m) hope, in Sunday’s G2 LONGINES Jockey Club Cup (2000m).

“Helene Happy Star still has to show his best form,” the trainer said. “His last two runs have been below par, so I’m hoping that with Hugh on board, and the fact that he’s in his third run now, that he’ll start to run into the money. We just want him to give us a good sight for the 2400-metre Vase on the 11th.”

With the likes of Joyful Trinity set to line up in the Mile and Designs On Rome heading into the Cup off a last start victory, Moore is anticipating a good weekend.

“I’m looking forward to the weekend. I’m pretty confident that my horses are going to run very well. We could be in for a big day,” he said.

“Joyful Trinity has done nothing wrong but he still has to prove himself at the elite level. (Gerald) Mosse got off after the gallop this morning and said I couldn’t have him any better than he is. He was quite upbeat about his chances. He’s drawn a little bit awkwardly (gate nine) but from my point of view, he can't be any fitter.

“And Designs on Rome is absolutely flying. (Karis) Teetan got off after his work with Harbour Master on Wednesday and said, ‘You’ve got this horse jumping out of his skin’. If he can repeat his last run then he’s the one to beat in the race.”

The G2 LONGINES Jockey Club Cup (2000m), G2 BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Mile and G2 BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Sprint each carry prize purses of HK$4 million and are the premier lead-up races to the HK$83 million LONGINES Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin on Sunday, 11 December.

Helene Paragon coasts to victory in the Class 1 Sha Tin Mile Trophy last term.
Photo 1:
Helene Paragon coasts to victory in the Class 1 Sha Tin Mile Trophy last term.



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