bred sprinters Not Listenin'tome and Lucky Bubbles filled the quinella in the
Group II Bochk Wealth Mgmt Jockey Club Sprint at Sha Tin on Sunday, the race also
featuring the return of the great HK Champion Able Friend.
The G2 BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Sprint (1200m) could not have gone
much better for John Moore as the trainer landed a fifth win in the race, but
it was not with the horse that most punters were anticipating as Not Listenin'tome
landed the spoils.
The top handler sent out three runners in the Jockey Club Sprint, headlined by
comeback galloper Able Friend at his first run since last year's LONGINES Hong
Kong International Races.
However, it was Not Listenin'tome who caused a 42/1 shock under visiting
Australian rider Hugh Bowman as he held off Francis Lui-trained favourite Lucky
Bubbles (Brett Prebble) by a half-length, stamping himself as the
longest-priced winner of the traditional LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint trial in the
2014 Hong Kong Sprint winner Aerovelocity was a pleasing third for Zac Purton,
a length and a quarter away, with a ring-rusty Able Friend (Tommy Berry) not
disgraced in fourth.
For Not Listenin'tome, it was a return to form after the son of Dylan Thomas
had disappointed at his first two runs this season – a fifth over the straight
1000m first-up in the G3 National Day Cup Handicap behind Amazing Kids, before
an eighth in the G2 Premier Bowl (1200m) behind the horse he conquered today,
"Everything fell into place today," said Moore, who had previously won the
Group 2 with Able Prince (2006), Happy Zero (2009), One World (2010) and
Charles The Great (2013). "We thought the 1000m race, he'd be a force to be
reckoned with, but he was given a torrid time and suffered interference. And
then obviously we just had to forgive his next run over the 1200m."
"Today, he'd come into the race in fine form but he was the forgotten horse. We
know when he's at his best he can do something like he did today, and today's
been one of those days where there's been a lot of roughies get up. So he just
continued the trend!"
"But it's great, Hugh rode him a great race, rode him to instructions. He got across,
got a little bit of cover there and he kicked. We're going into the race on the
11th with hopes of getting a good draw and a similar sort of run. Today, he was
100 percent and he managed to beat the best of what we've got up here. If we
can keep him in this fine form, we look forward to being competitive against
Bowman partnered Not Listenin'tome three times last season, including to a
third behind Peniaphobia and Gold-Fun in last year's Hong Kong Sprint, and he
said that a critical gear change helped the noted 1000m specialist see out the
"I got a lovely run, he settled the best he's ever settled for me," the rider
said. "All the times I've ridden him have been over 1200m and in that time, all
his best form has been over 1000m. Twelve months ago, after the Hong Kong
Sprint, I thought that the 1200m was too far for him, or at least for him to
produce his best, but obviously after what he produced this afternoon, it makes
me very excited going into the international meeting."
"I was a bit worried today about the 1200m again, especially with the wide
draw, but I think the ear muffs were an excellent addition to his gear and he
was a much more settled individual this afternoon with that gear change.
Because he was more settled, he was able to see the 1200m out really strongly
and it's great to see him winning at this level over this distance, because it
opens up a lot more opportunities for him."
However, Bowman feels that the six-year-old will have to produce a new personal
best if he is to take out the HK$18.5 million Hong Kong Sprint on Sunday, 11
"I feel he will have to run a little bit better than he did today to win in
three weeks, because I feel it will be a stronger race," he said. "But that
being said, if I can have the same run as I did last year, it will be very
welcome because I think I have the better horse."
Hong Kong's highest-rated horse of all time, Able Friend, made his long-awaited
return to the racetrack after 11 months on the sidelines with a tendon injury,
and Moore was visibly happy with his two-and-a-quarter length fourth.
"He went super," Moore said. "Tommy said he bottomed out at the 150m but he was
really thrilled about the run. He was going to win at the 200m, but by the time
he got to the 150m he'd already had enough. Considering the amount of time he's
had off, though, you have to accept that and I'm sure he'll be a much fitter
horse come international day."
Berry, who partnered Able Friend for the first time in nearly three years at the
Australian rider's first Hong Kong raceday since May, was full of optimism
about the giant chestnut's run and believes he will be a force to be reckoned
with in three weeks.
"It was a really good run and importantly he felt really good to me in his action,"
he said. "I thought I was the winner but he just blew out the last furlong.
He's right on track for wherever he goes next."
Moore said a decision was still pending on whether he would keep Able Friend at
1200m for the Hong Kong Sprint or step him up to his pet distance of 1600m for
the LONGINES Hong Kong Mile.
"I have to go back to the owner to decide whether we're going to run him at
1200m or 1600m. Probably the mile is more preferable, but he's been off the
scene for a while and take nothing away from his run in that race. I'll go back
and speak to Dr Li and we'll make a decision tomorrow morning."
The most expensive yearling sold in Australia in 2012 by Coolmore shuttler Dylan
Thomas (IRE), Not Listenin'tome was a $270,000 Inglis Easter purchase for George
Moore Bloodstock from the Arrowfield Stud draft and has been very consistent
with eight wins from 27 starts.
Not Listenin'tome is the best of two winners from stakes-winning Encosta de
Lago mare Flame of Sydney, who was a very speedy juvenile from the family of
Group winners Only Words, What Can I Say and Darci Be Good.