The 2016 Cox Plate is now on the agenda for last Sunday’s brilliant Group 1 HK$20m Audemars Piguet QEII Cup (2000m) winner Werther.
Sydney based jockey Hugh Bowman showed the world why he is Australia’s leading Group 1 winning rider with an outstanding display to slice Werther through the field in the Sha Tin straight to record a four and half lengths win in Hong Kong’s most prestigious weight for age race.
Bowman collected his third win on the John Moore trained four year old and made it back to back victories after taking out the Group 1 HK$18m The BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) at Sha Tin on March 20.
Moore was so taken with Werther’s winning performance in such a high quality international field that he immediately pencilled in the Australia’s weight for age championship at Moonee Valley during the Melbourne Spring Carnival.
“I will try and pull the owners leg and go back for the Cox Plate,” Moore said.
“There were some doubts about the strength of the Hong Kong Derby form but Werther has put that to bed now.”
“He was extremely impressive and he will continue to improve. The sky’s the limit.”
Werther’s next run Hong Kong will be the Group 1 HK$10m Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) at Sha Tin on May 22 and Moore has already booked Bowman for the ride.
“Next will be the Champions & Chater Cup and Hugh will be here to ride him again,” Moore said.
“Then we will give him a break.”
Bowman settled Werther in the second half of the field and with plenty of pressure on up front, horses from back in the field were certainly going to figure in the finish.
While Tommy Berry on Werther’ stablemate Designs On Rome started to make his move from last prior to the home turn, circling the field, Bowman waited until heads were turned for home and secured a gap in between runners before switching back to the inside to unleashed his finishing burst for a runaway win over Military Attack and Blazing Speed.
The short priced favourite, Japanese galloper Lovely Day, finished just behind the placegetters with Designs On Rome winding up in fifth spot.
“He has now, after winning so decisively, taken the big step on the world stage, so Hong Kong has got a world champion in its midst,” Bowman said.