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Moore has Grand Designs for Dubai

Photo: Dubai Racing Club // Mathea Kelley

It says a lot about the quality of the Dubai Sheema Classic presented by Longines that trainer John Moore describes the race as “the biggest test yet” for Designs On Rome (IRE), the horse that has swept all before him in Hong Kong.

Last year, the ex-Irish trained five-year-old won the Hong Kong Derby and QEII Cup en-route to being crowned Horse of the Year.
This season, new peaks have been reached with the Hong Kong Cup added to the trophy cabinet.
Attention is now firmly fixed on the 2400m feature on Saturday night and while Moore is confident of another mighty performance from Designs On Rome, he knows that a career best will be required.

“It’s such a strong race. You have Flintshire, second in the Arc and winner of the Hong Kong Vase. Then there’s Main Sequence, a Breeders’ Cup champion. The Japanese challenge is very strong and I have great respect for the local horses,” Moore said at trackwork on Wednesday.
“Add to that, our guy is stepping up to a distance that he is not proven at yet, even though I have no doubt he will see it out strongly. It’s a huge challenge for him but this horse has responded to everything that has been put before him and I’m hopeful he’ll do the same again.”

Designs On Rome is renowned as a horse that truly relishes a scrap, one that rarely comes out second best. These are characteristics he will need as he chases the US$6 million showpiece, the penultimate race on Dubai World Cup night when tactics will be all important.

“There are ten runners and on paper the tempo of the race doesn’t look very strong. Joao Moreira will settle him towards the rear of the field as usual but I think he can quicken off a slow pace,” Moore added.
“If it is a case that it is slowly run then it won’t be such a stiff test of stamina for him. It could be that he will have to go through the gears."
quickly but we know has a terrific turn of foot and Joao gets the best out of him.”
Moore finished second in the Sheema Classic with Viva Pataca in 2008 and has no doubt that Designs On Rome is a superior performer.

He concluded: “He just has that great mix of class and desire. In Hong Kong he tends to idle a little before they turn for home. You really have to stoke him up, but he always responds. He knows where the line is and he just has the will to win and to beat the other horses.”