29 February 2016

A good season at the highest level for Irish horses in Hong Kong got better on Sunday as DESIGNS ON ROME (IRE) drew the highest praise as he led home an Irish-bred 1-2-3-4 in the Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup. Trainer John Moore, successful in the middle leg of the local Triple Crown for the 11th time, described the son of Holy Roman Emperor (IRE) as his finest winner of the race. “He's so talented, he's got to be number one,” said the champion handler after DESIGNS ON ROME (IRE) defeated stable companion Helene Happy Star (IRE) by half a length with Military Attack (IRE) in third. “It's the way he does it. He goes from racing in last, to looping around them before the turn and beating a strong field. He's so tough having come back from arthroscopic surgery and he has more to give.”

 This was the Moyglare Stud-bred six-year-old's sixth win at the highest level in Hong Kong where he was Horse of the Year in 2013/14 when he won the Derby and Audemars Piguet QEII Cup. He hasn't done too badly for a horse that cost €10,500 at the Orby sale at Goffs: earnings accrued to owner Cheng Keung-fai stand at €6.8 million and counting. Pat Flynn was his former trainer and in Ireland he is best remembered for finishing second to Dawn Approach (IRE) in the National Stakes of 2012. The latest win by DESIGNS ON ROME (IRE) came just a few days after the retirement was announced in Hong Kong of another Irish-bred warrior, LUCKY NINE (IRE). What dividends the latter, a champion sprinter-miler, has also repaid investors. He was purchased for a paltry €9,000 at Tattersalls Ireland in 2008 by Andy Oliver and went on to win over €6 million in stakes in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Japan and Dubai.   

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