Brilliant Moonlight Cloud to strike in Hong Kong Mile
Moonlight Cloud has never looked back since coming within a head of ending Black Caviar’s unbeaten record at Royal Ascot in June last year. Any thoughts that she had been flattered by her proximity to the great mare were dispelled when she slaughtered her rivals in the Prix Maurice de Gheest on her next start.
She has gone to become an exceptional sprinter turned miler, winning 12 of her 20 career starts but could be retired after this weekend’s Hong Kong Mile. Her performance will determine whether or not she is kept in training for one further season but there must be every possibility that she will be retired to the paddocks.
The concerns for her supporters are the fast ground and the fact that she disappointed on her only previous trip outside of Europe when down the field in the Breeders’ Cup. Trainer Freddie Head is pleased with her preparation and she looked in good shape for her final piece on the dirt track on Wednesday morning.
The biggest danger to Moonlight Cloud could come from Richard Hannon’s Sky Lantern, winner of the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. The grey confirmed herself to be the best filly of her generation with further success in the Coronation Stakes and Sun Chariot Stakes. She has a marked preference for fast ground and everything seems to be in her favour this weekend.
She was desperately unlucky to be beaten by Elusive Kate in controversial circumstances at Newmarket’s July meeting and was again the victim of interference when beaten at Goodwood. Hannon is handing over the licence to his son on 1st January and nobody would begrudge him a final Group One success.
The four-year-old Gold-Fun is strongly fancied to lead the home defence after completing a hat-trick when victorious in the Jockey Club Mile. He got the better of Helene Spirit for the third time running, although the winning margin was only a short head.
Glorious Days finished runner-up last year but has not shown the same level of form this season whilst Gordon Lord Byron has shown his best form at shorter distances. He was a brilliant winner of the Haydock Sprint Cup in September but the going may be quicker than he likes.