In-form Sydney-based horseman Gary Moore doesn’t believe his Group 1 winner Takedown will beat Fell Swoop in the Victory Stakes in Brisbane on Saturday, but highly rates his chances in the Doomben 10,000 next month.
A host of potential Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival Group 1 horses face off at Eagle Farm Racecourse this weekend in the $200,000 Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m).
The weight-for-age feature attracted 13 original entries including Moore’s Stratum four-year-old Takedown and last start Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) third placegetter Fell Swoop.
Moore has enjoyed plenty of success down under since returning to Australia from Hong Kong in 2014, including the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) win in Perth last November with Takedown.
The gelding then travelled to Sha Tin in December, finishing a gallant sixth when only two lengths beaten by the winner Aerovelocity in the prestigious Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m).
In his first run back down under, Takedown ran second last when eighth to Redzel in the Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on a Heavy (8) track on April 15.
Moore believes the horse will improve heading to the sunshine state this weekend, better suited to the weight-for-age conditions of the Victory Stakes as he eyes Group 1 Brisbane races in the coming months.
“He has come on since his first-up run. He is brighter in the coat and has dropped in weight,” Moore told The Courier Mail.
“With all the quarantine he did and then not having raced for four months, he lost a fair amount of muscle mass.
“He’s starting to look a lot more like his old self now.”
He is realistic about the horse’s winning chances however, tipping Fell Swoop as the one to beat in the Victory Stakes.
“I don’t think he can beat Fell Swoop this weekend. He’s been in superb form and has the race fitness advantage on Takedown,” Moore said.
During last year’s winter carnival in Queensland the galloper enjoyed a win in the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) before a second to Counterattack in Doomben’s Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m).
Saturday will be his first run back in Brisbane however since his failed 14th to Under The Louvre at Eagle Farm in the $1.5 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
This season Moore has Takedown headed towards $700,000 Group 1 James Boag’s Premium Doomben 10,000 (1200m) on May 13 and then the $700,000 Group 1 Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m) at Eagle Farm a fortnight later.
“To win a Group 1 in Queensland would be very precious and would go nicely alongside winning the Winterbottom last year and winning the Arc de Triomphe as a jockey [on Gold River in 1981],” he said.
“Queensland has been fantastic. My dad was a proud Queenslander and I love coming up here.”
After the Kingsford-Smith Cup, formerly the BTC Cup, Moore plans to bypass this year’s Stradbroke Handicap with a possible $10 million The Everest (1200m) at Randwick in October pending.
“The main races I have targeted him for are the Doomben 10,000 and the Darley Kingsford Smith,” Moore confirmed.
“If he’s lucky enough to win one of those, we would bypass the Stradbroke and hopefully find a slot for The Everest during the spring.
“I would love to be a part of that, especially if he’s in the same kind of form he was last spring.”
Fell Swoop leads pre-field Doomben 10,000 betting at Ladbrokes.com.au at around $7, while Takedown is listed as an $8 chance in a wide open futures market.