Hong Kong star Able Friend extended his winning run with a comfortable victory in the Group 1 Stewards Cup (1600m) at Sha Tin on Sunday, but is now unlikely to make the trip to Australia for the 2015 Doncaster Mile.
Able Friend was settled towards the tail of the field by jockey Joao Moreira in the early stages of the Stewards Cup, but he effortlessly made up plenty of ground between the 400 and 300 metre mark before he ran away from his rivals to record a comfortable win from Beauty Flame and Rewarding Hero without being tested by Moreira.
Owner Dr Cornel Li Fook-kwan is yet to decide where Able Friend will have his next race start, but he indicated after the race on Sunday that the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 4 was now off the agenda for the Shamardal gelding.
“The Doncaster is a handicap so we don’t know how much weight he will get and if he had to do the quarantine in Melbourne to race in Sydney, that’s just a no-no,” Dr Li told The South China Morning Post.
Trainer John Moore is keen to test Able Friend overseas and he believes that the Group 1 Dubai Turf (1800m), now known as the Dubai Duty Free, at Meydan in March is the right option for his star galloper.
There has been an opinion in Hong Kong that horses who have made the trip to Dubai fail to fire when they return to Hong Kong, after Sterling City appeared to lose his ability after taking out the Dubai Golden Shaheen last year, but Moore believes that this is a myth and would be more than happy to take Able Friend to the Dubai World Cup meeting.
“Silent Witness went overseas to Japan and proved himself and we have to do that yet,” Moore said.
“I don’t agree with the idea horses don’t come back from Dubai.
“There has been the odd one but I’ve had horses come back from there and win.
“If we don’t go to Dubai, I’m not sure what we have to run in between the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in March and the Champions Mile in May.”
Able Friend is also a chance of running in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes (1609m) during the 2015 Royal Ascot Meeting or making the trip to Japan for a potential clash with Isla Bonita in the Group 1 Yasuda Kinen (1600m) in June.