Moore and Berry are sweet on Werther

7 Dec 2017

By David Morgan

Werther caught the eye in his final fast workout for Sunday's Gr.1 Longines Hong Kong International Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin Racecourse on Thursday.

The John Moore-trained Tavistock gelding Werther put in a strong gallop in company, pleasing his jockey Tommy Berry.

“If all goes well on the day, Werther’s the one they have to beat, I think,” Berry said.

Werther needs to win this weekend’s HK$25 million Hong Kong Cup to complete a full-set of Sha Tin’s elite 2000m races.

The three-time Group One winner, successful in the Gr.2 Jockey Club Cup at the course and distance three weeks ago, quickened past Midnight Rattler down the floodlit home stretch in training, clocking 1:21.5 for 1200m, his last 400 in 23.6 seconds.

“Werther was the pick of them this morning, the standout,” Moore said.

“He hit the line really well. We’ve done all we can to get him to peak fitness and now we’re just hoping he can give the race a real shake. He’s in as good form as he’s ever been. He’s got a very big heart, this horse, and we’re going in with confidence.

"He was underdone last time and he still fought off a pretty smart horse (Time Warp) to win – and the pace didn't suit that day either. He’s a fitter horse now.”

The manner of Werther’s training gallop was just what Berry was looking for, too.

“He hasn’t worked badly all preparation, he’s always a good worker, so we didn’t expect anything different from him,” the rider said.

“He did have a bit of a blow, so that work will top him off perfectly for the weekend. It’ll probably take a bit of the sting out of him as well, because the last three or four days he’s been travelling quite keen in his work – he’s been getting a little bit above himself.” - HKJC