RETIRING Japanese superstar Maurice has entered its name into the annals of racing history after taking out the Hong Kong Cup in spectacular fashion as a $1.75 favourite at Sportsbet.com.au.
The horse completely blew the start and had to make up ground in the running but found the space in the straight to come through and flew past long-time leader and last year’s winner A Shin Hikari which lead by over five lengths for the majority of the race.
The hot pace set by A Shin Hikari suited Maurice perfectly, who was given a masterclass ride from Ryan Moore, who rocketed up the rails before switching off the long-time leader’s back to stretch away from the field.
The Four-time English flat racing jockey of the year Ryan Moore said the five-year-old was unsettled at the start which cost it a prominent position early in the piece, but the horse’s class overcame the tardy beginning.
“He really quickened exceptionally well,” Moore said.
“At the start he wasn’t on his best behaviour, he just got a bit agitated and came out very awkwardly
…[but] when he found daylight he just quickened and put the race to bed very quickly.”
The team behind Maurice earmarked the Hong Kong Cup as the final race of the superstar’s career earlier in the year for the 2015 Japanese Horse of the Year.
Moore said the victory in the Cup was the ideal way for the racing world to say goodbye to the superstar.
“He is a very good racehorse and he’s gotten better every start for his career,” he said.
“It’s a great way to sign off.”
Zac Purton’s sensational day in the saddle continued after he steered Secret Weapon into second position despite fears the horse may be scratched at the barrier to pay $2.75 to place at Crownbet.com.au.
Staphanos battled on wonderfully well to claim third and return $3.85 at WilliamHill.com.au, while Australian hoop Hugh Bowman was again unlucky to miss out on a place after a strong ride aboard Lovely Day.