John Moore turned 70 during the week and will have his last chance to add to his HK Derby-winning tally on Sunday. Photo by HKJC.

Moore’s famous five: re-live John Moore’s best Derby triumphs

Michael Cox


Michael Cox’s Derby Watch

In the lead-up to the 2020 Hong Kong Derby, Michael Cox will provide analysis for Hutchi’s Honkers as the next generation of stars builds up to the big race on March 20. The four-year-old series began with the Hong Kong Classic Mile on January 27, continued with the Hong Kong Classic Cup on February 23 and culminates with the Derby on March 22.




Sunday’s Hong Kong Derby will be John Moore’s last. It is a race he has single-handedly reshaped, along with the entire Hong Kong racing landscape, with his astute purchase and preparation of high-class horseflesh from across the globe.

Hong Kong’s most successful trainer turned 70 this week, which means he will be forced into compulsory retirement at the end of this season.

With the withdrawal of Enjoying, Moore will have a solitary runner in the race and an outsider at that, Savvy Nine, which is sad given the Aussie-expat’s domination of the race.

Moore has won a record six Derbies, starting with his breakout star Makarpura Star in 1995 but the best was yet to come with his next five Derby winners among the modern greats of Hong Kong racing.

Viva Pataca (2006)

Owned by all-powerful Macau casino magnate Stanley Ho, Viva Pataca was a popular winner of the 2006 Derby as an odds-on favourite and was ridden by superstar jockey Christophe Soumillon.


Collection (2009)

Collection was a trendsetter for what was to come for Moore: a big money buy with big expectations. Moore’s bloodstock buying, as much as his training, shaped Hong Kong racing and the Derby in particular.


Designs On Rome (2014)

Designs On Rome’s Derby triumph can’t be mentioned without the stablemate he beat, Able Friend, in one of the great racetrack duels of all time. Moore’s two horses had already slugged it out in the first two legs of the four-year-old series – with Able Friend leading the stable quinella in the Classic Mile, before Designs On Rome turned the tables in the Classic Cup – but the Derby topped them all for drama.

Caller Darren Flindell nailed the call when as the two stars broke clear and approached the 200m mark: “This is what we’ve been waiting for.”


Werther (2016)

By now Moore was on a roll, and Werther announced his stardom with a Derby victory. It was another stable quinella after Werther fought off Victory Magic in a stirring duel.

Werther went on to win that year’s QEII Cup at his next start and was part of an ongoing sequence for Moore of training the Hong Kong horse of the year winner for seven-straight seasons.


Rapper Dragon (2017)

Memories of this Derby win will live long in the hearts and minds of Hong Kong racing fans. Rapper Dragon was sadly struck down two starts after his career-defining Derby win, a victory that capped the first ever clean-sweep of the four-year-old series.

The horses Rapper Dragon beat tell you how good he was: Group 1 winners Pakistan Star, Beauty Generation and Seasons Bloom filled the next three placings.


The Hong Kong Derby will jump at 4.35pm HKT / 9.35pm AEDT as race 8 of 10 at Sha Tin. Get involved with Hutchi and take advantage of his “BUY ONE, GET ONE” special!!