Hong Kong-based trainer John Moore has revealed that he will only bring Group 1 winners Dominant and Sterling City to Australia for the 2015 edition of The Championships if there is a quarantine facility introduced in Sydney.
Gordon Lord Byron and Hana’a Goal both made the trip to Australia for The Championships, but were both forced to serve their two week quarantine period at the International Equine Centre at Werribee before making the trip to Sydney.
Moore told The South China Morning Post that he would like to bring Dominant and Sterling City to Sydney to contest the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) and Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) respectively, but said that he will not commit to bringing the duo to unless the proposal to use Canterbury as a quarantine facility is put in place.
“It all hinges on Canterbury racecourse being used as the quarantine in Sydney; I’m not interested if they are using Werribee in Melbourne,” Moore said.
“As long as that part of it is right, I will have Sterling City going to Sydney for the TJ Smith Stakes and Dominant’s ownership syndicate has agreed to sending him there as well, probably for the Sydney Cup.”
Dominant scored the biggest win of his racing career to date when he took out the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin on Hong Kong International Raceday, but has since been unable to record another race win and he failed to fire in all three of his race starts this preparation.
Moore believes that the Cacique gelding is looking for a step-up in trip and feels that the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) and Sydney Cup should both prove appropriate races for the six-year-old.
“He wants 2400 metres and farther so there aren’t many races here for him and he’d be a good chance to get softer, more suitable going in Sydney at that time of year as well,” Moore said.
Sterling City is another galloper that has failed to fire in his three race starts this preparation, although he was most unlucky in the Group 2 Jockey Club Sprint (1200m) on Sunday, but he has previously been competitive at the highest level of racing in Hong Kong and scored his maiden Group 1 win in the Golden Shaheen in Dubai earlier this year.
The T.J. Smith Stakes at Royal Randwick would be the initial target for Sterling City, but Moore is open to the idea of keeping the Nadeem gelding in Australia for a tilt at both the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) and Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) during the 2015 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
Dominant will defend his title in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase on December 14, while Sterling City will take on Buffering in the Group 1 Hong Kong International Sprint (1200m).