DESTINED FOR GLORY   (124lbs) will aim to start the new season as he ended the last when he lines up in the HKSAR Chief Executive’s Cup at Sha Tin on Sunday, 8 September, the feature race at Hong Kong’s season opener.

John Moore’s charge halted a 20-month winless streak on his latest outing when lifting the third last race of the 2012/13 season at the Happy Valley finale in July, after which, the trainer fixed his eyes firmly on Sunday’s Class 1 over 1200m.

“Back at the end of last season he won on the last day, so I’ve kept him ticking over with this race in mind,” said Moore of the talented six-year-old, who has never quite lived up to his early potential.

Back in November, 2011,DESTINED FOR GLORY seemed aptly-named when lowering Ambitious Dragon’s colours to take the G2 Jockey Club Mile, but glory was hard to come by thereafter. The Connie Siu-owned gelding struggled with form and inched down the Hong Kong ratings from a peak of 121. Now rated 107,DESTINED FOR GLORY warmed up for a second consecutive tilt at 1200m with a tidy “win” in a 1000m turf barrier trial at the Pre-Season Carnival on Saturday, 31 August. With Douglas Whyte in the plate, Moore’s charge clocked 57.94s, the fastest time of the session, as he held fellow HKSAR CE Cup entrant, GO BABY GO.   

“His trial was very impressive and the jockey was very enthusiastic, saying if he could improve further from that trial run then he’s got to be the one to beat in the race,” said the trainer. “He showed toe and I’m enthusiastic about his chances. He’s done well, he doesn’t need any more work and he pulled up clean. He lost no muscle in the two weeks he was off after last season and then we started swimming and he’s been set for this race. There isn’t a top tier sprinter in the race, as there can be some years, and so he would have a good chance.”

The HKSAR CE Cup has attracted eight entries. The Michael Chang-trained RICH TAPESTRY, winner of the HKG2 Sprint Cup last term, heads the weights on 133lbs, with the Dennis Yip-trained GO BABY GO allotted 129lbs.

CERISE CHERRY, runner-up by a short-head last season for trainer Derek Cruz, may bid to go one place better under 127lbs, representing a mark 7lbs higher than 12 months ago. Tony Cruz, meanwhile, has engaged the smart pair of  EL ZONDA (126lbs) and  BEST ELEVEN (124lbs). The Moore-trained LEADING CITY (117lbs) and WAH MAY STAR (107lbs) from the Me Tsui stable complete the entries.

Hong Kong’s season kicks off with a competitive 10-race card at Sha Tin racecourse.  (HKJC press release)