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Able Friend Wins Gr1 Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup
At Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong, European champion 4-time Gr1-winning former Darley shuttler Shamardal (Giant's Causeway-Helsinki, by Machiavellian) celebrated a Gr1 success when outstanding 5YO Australian-bred gelding Able Friend (Shamardal-Ponte Piccolo, by Volksraad) scored an easy 2.25-length win for trainer John Moore in the HK$10 million Gr1 Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m), over 5YO Irish-bred gelding Beauty Flame (Footstepsinthesand-Lucy Diamonds, by Orpen) & 6YO gelding Gold-Fun (Le Vie Dei Colori-Goodwood March, by Foxhound). Able Friend took his record to 10 wins (including the Gr1 Stewards' Cup, Gr1 Hong Kong Mile, Gr1 Hong Kong Classic Mile, Gr2 Jockey Club Mile & Gr2 HKJC Chairman's Trophy) and 5 placings (including the Gr1 Hong Kong Classic Cup & Gr1 Hong Kong Derby) from 16 starts for $6,490,378 earnings. Able Friend is out of the stakes-winning NZ-bred mare Ponte Piccolo and was purchased for $550,000 purchase by his trainer John Moore at the 2011 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Turangga Farm. "For a horse with such a big frame, he is so nimble," Moore told scmp.com. "His footwork is unbelievable, to be able to switch off heels like that as quick as he did and then explode." Able Friend is now likely to head towards the HK$14 million Gr1 Champions Mile on May 3, with a lead-up run in just over three weeks in the Gr2 Chairman's Trophy on April 7. After that, owner Cornel Li Fook-kwan said he and Moore would "play it by ear" with end-of-season trips to Royal Ascot or Singapore both options.