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Ryan Moore has high hopes for Highland Reel

22 Mar 2017

Leading jockey says globetrotter is "difficult to stop" when getting to the front.

Front-running Highland Reel made all in the King George last summer

Ryan Moore believes front-running Highland Reel will be a tough horse to pass in the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan on Saturday provided the globetrotter is somewhere near his best.

Moore made all on the Aidan O’Brien-trained five-year-old in the QIPCO-sponsored King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last summer – one of the highlights of the QIPCO British Champions Series – and again seems certain to deploy catch-me-if-you-can tactics.

“At his best, it would take a good one to beat him,” Moore said in his blog for Betfair. “When he gets on the lead in these 1m4f races he is difficult to stop, stall three is fine, but the one doubt in my mind is that he wasn’t at his best when fourth in this race last season. And we know what a long campaign he probably has ahead of him again.”

Moore, who rode the winners of ten Champions Series races last summer, has contrasting views of the other two Champions Series winners in the field – Seventh Heaven, who is also trained by O’Brien, and Postponed, who seeks to win the race for a second time.

“I can certainly make a fair case for Seventh Heaven at the prices,” Moore said. “We couldn’t get competitive from off the pace behind Queen’s Trust in the 1m2f Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita but the combination of a smaller field, and a bigger and wider track, here and a return to 1m4f could really suit her.

“She was very impressive when winning the Yorkshire Oaks and at the Curragh and Seamie [Heffernan] gets on really well with her.”

He is less keen on Postponed, the favourite, winner of the Investec Coronation Cup and Juddmonte International Stakes last summer.

“You had to be disappointed with him in the Arc and when beaten by Prize Money here last month, even if he didn’t get the best of runs,” Moore said. “The horse who we saw here last year would have won that day, even if connections seem very happy with him out here.”