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Hong Kong’s Xtension to target Cox Plate

May 23, 2011

Hong Kong’s Champions Mile winner Xtension will target the Group 1 Tatts Cox Plate (2040m) in October, trainer John Moore has confirmed.

Racing Victoria’s international scout Leigh Jordon has spent the last two weeks in Asia speaking to trainers with possible contenders for Melbourne’s spring carnival.

Jordon told Racing Victoria’s website that he had received confirmation from expat trainer Moore that the Xaar entire would be coming to Melbourne.

“John confirmed for me tonight that Xtension is being set for the Tatts Cox Plate,” Jordon said.

“He’s even considering coming over earlier and contesting races like the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley in the build up to the Cox Plate which will be great for the Carnival.”

Moore had earlier said that a trip would depend on support from the owner.

Xtension started his career in England before coming to Hong Kong earlier this season.

As a three year old in England, Xtension consistently finished near some of the best milers of his generation, including English 2000 Guineas trifecta Makfi, Dick Turpin and Canford Cliffs.

Brought to Hong Kong as a prospective Derby contender, he showed his consistency with good runs in the Derby lead-ups.

In the Hong Kong Derby (2000m), he ran a close second to Ambitious Dragon, but at his next start he was able to win one of Hong Kong’s great races.

That win in the Group 1 Champions Mile (1600m) saw him defeat some of Hong Kong’s best milers, including Lucky Nine, Beauty Flash, Thumbs Up, Able One and Good Ba Ba, as well as top class internationals Musir, Presvis and Royal Bench.

Trainer John Moore, son of arguably Australia’s greatest ever jockey George Moore, has been planning for years to come to the Cox Plate but fate has intervened.

He was set to bring his champion galloper Viva Pataca in 2007, with flights booked for him and a stablemate, Viva Macau.

However, a week before his arrival, equine influenza broke out in New South Wales and the trainer decided against bringing his horses, fearing they may be stuck if the strain of horse flu reached Victoria.

In 2009, that year’s Hong Kong Derby winner Collection was slated for the Cox Plate but the owners were not keen and the idea was abandoned.

Moore says he wants to win a major race in Australia.

“I want to win a Tatts Cox Plate one day…you know I just can’t rest until I’ve won a Group 1 at home,” Moore said last month.

The confirmation that Xtension will be set towards the Cox Plate comes hours after Singapore’s feature winners set their sights on Melbourne.

Singapore International Cup winner Gitano Hernando is likely to come for the Melbourne Cup, while Krisflyer International Sprint winner Rocket Man is a possibility of coming for a mouth watering clash with Black Caviar in the Patinack Farm Classic.

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