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Rocketeer Among Hong Kong Derby Entries As Moore Aims To Win Race For Sixth Time

Rocketeer is among the 36 first stage entries for the 2018 Hong Kong Derby at Sha Tin, which is set to take place on March 18. The race, which is open to four-year-olds only, features the best horses from that age category in Asia and is one of the most prestigious contests run on turf anywhere in the world.


John Moore, who will saddle Rocketeer on the day, has won the Hong Kong Derby five times in the last 12 years, therefore, he knows exactly what is required to prepare his horses for the race. The Australian was first successful in 1995 when Makarpura Star claimed the top prize, while, 12 months ago, Rapper Dragon gave him his latest victory.

Moore Has Six Entries in First Stage

Moore took over training duties with Rocketeer back in March and, since then, the four-year-old has had 10 runs in nine months in what has been a busy campaign. His only win came in the Hong Kong Young Industrialists Council Silver Jubilee Cup at Sha Tin in June, where he scored by just over two lengths when ridden by Douglas Whyte. Since his switch to Moore’s stable, eight of Rocketeer’s 10 runs have come at Sha Tin so he has picked up a lot of experience of running at the track, which should help him in his BMW Hong Kong Derby bid.

With six entries for the 2018 Hong Kong Derby, Moore has more horses than any other trainer in the latest list for the race. His highest rated runner is Ruthven who has an official rating of 94. The four-year-old made his debut for the Australian at Sha Tin earlier this month, where he finished seventh of 14 runners. As a three-year-old, this horse finished fourth in the Australian Derby, a race that was ultimately won by Jon Snow, who now has a 50/1 quote with sportsbook Betway as of January 14 to win the 2018 Melbourne Cup. If that form can be reproduced here, he is likely to be the horse they all have to beat.

Who Are The Other Leading Contenders For The Race?

The highest rated horse in the 2018 Hong Kong Derby at 112 is Nothingilikemore. The four year old was in excellent form in 2017 as he won five of his six starts in what was his debut year on the track. The son of Husson only ran at Sha Tin and he came very close to ending the season unbeaten as he was defeated by a short-head on his last start behind Southern Legend. Nothingilikemore started his career at 1200m, where he showed the speed to beat 13 rivals by just over two lengths. All five of his last outings have been at 1400m, a distance he had no problem adapting to. The challenge now will be if he can handle the stamina test of 2000m in the Hong Kong Derby, as it will be 600m more than any other race he has taken part in before.


Exultant staked his claim as a strong contender for the Hong Kong Derby this year, with victory in the one of the most valuable handicaps at Sha Tin at the back end of 2017. Anthony Cruz’s runner went off as the odds-on favourite in the 14-runner field and he was held up patiently in the early stages by his rider Zac Purton. The bay gelding hit the front with 300m to go and he soon went clear of the pack to score by just under three lengths at the finish. Cruz has had two successes in the last 14 years in one of the feature contests on the Hong Kong racing calendar. Lucky Owners provided him with his maiden victory in 2004, while, four years later, Helene Mascot scored with a time of 2:01:30, which is the second quickest time of the last 17 years. If Exultant can deliver the goods in the big race in March, he will join a small club of trainers who have been victorious on three occasions or more.

The final entry stage for the 2018 Hong Kong Derby is on March 5, after which the final declarations along with jockey bookings will be officially released.

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