Moore, who is into his second season as trainer in Macau, is looking to surpass his efforts last year when he saddled up the Derby favorite Hostwin Saturn, for a somewhat disappointing sixth, beaten five lengths in the race behind Sacred Magnate. In short; he is hopeful that Circuit Miles a son of Fastnet Rock (Aus), is the right horse to go the extra mile as the saying goes, and give him his second Group 1 victory after Hostwin Saturn's brilliant Macau Guineas win last season.
"He is going have his final hit out on Tuesday with Luis (Corrales) on top. I've purposely spaced his runs out, and Saturday will be his first run for seven weeks since he won easily over 1800 metres. He had a nice trial last Tuesday over 1000 metres against a couple of the main Derby horses (Beauty Bolt and Simon Fubuki), and has come out of that in great shape."
"I want him peaking Derby day; last year with Hostwin Saturn he peaked too soon; his Guineas win was his high, and by Derby day he had just gone a little over the top." Moore said.
Moore rates the Joe Lau prepared Snow Storm as the one to beat in the Derby, even though the horse is currently rated lower than Circuit Miles.
"Joe is just the master when it comes to the Derby; he brings them along slowly and has them peaking right on the day. His four Derby wins prove that. I liked Snow Storms win last Saturday; he hit the line well and his time was very good. And it was a clever move by Joe to take on a lower-class race, rather than get straight into the Group 3 next Saturday. Snow Storm is lightly raced and still learning, and his giving the horse a lot of confidence, that's three straight wins now."
Of the other Derby contenders Moore names Beauty Bolt and Simon Fubuki as the main dangers.
"Both of them will be in the Derby Trial and tough to beat. Beauty Bolt hands down has the best form; she competed against the highest level in Australia, only two lengths away in Group 2 over 1600 metres at Flemington, and ran fourth in the VRC Oaks behind Miami Bound. That said Beauty Bolt is mare, and often they can be a worry in Asia with the extreme humidity."
"Simon Fubuki is the highest rated on 90 points, so yes, we meet him at a disadvantage on the equal weights Saturday at 1500 metres. But come Derby day and the 1800 metres, I think I've got the right horse for the day."
"I feel he is just starting to come good in his coat, physically he looks great and he has a great attitude, he never leaves a feed. He has a great pedigree by Fastnet Rock (Aus) the same as Pearl Green who won our 2018 Derby, and he is out of a Dehere mare and he has placed up to 2200 metres in Victoria."
Nick is the third generation of the famed Moore Racing Dynasty to train in Macau.
His grandfather the legendary George Moore widely regarded as Australia's greatest jockey, moved to the enclave after his mandatory retirement from Hong Kong, where he won 11 Champion Trainers' Titles. George trained for two seasons in the enclave from 1994, finishing runner up in the Trainers Title in both years. He won 1996 Macau Derby with Winning Touch ridden by his son Gary, and also provided the tierce in the race, training the first three runners across the line.
A former top class International jockey, Gary won seven Hong Kong Jockeys' Championships before setting up his training operation in Macau. In 13 years in the enclave Gary won eight Macau Trainers Titles before returning to Australia to train at Rosehill.
Nick's younger brother James at the tender age of 23 years, took over part of Gary's Macau stable in the 2014/2015 season and won the Macau Guineas with Kelowna Star in 2016.
Gary also won the Macau Guineas in 2014 with Hostwin Donatello but couldn't go that extra yard in the Derby running second to Best Season. My Dark Chocolate was also another Derby runner up for Gary in 2010 behind Luen Yat Forever. Whilst he had more than 700 Macau winners to his credit, and just about every feature Cup trophy on his mantelpiece, a Derby win eluded Gary; and that's where Nick has his heart set on going one better.
Nick spent 13 years working with his father firstly in Macau as a Trainer's Assistant, and later as his Assistant Trainer. When Gary made the move back to Rosehill in Australia in 2014, Nick followed, and after spending two years there with Gary, he had one year under John Sargeant.
The move back Macau was an easy decision to make that 38-year-old Nick grabbed as soon as the opportunity arose.
"My wife Jerusa Antunes is Macanese and her family is here; and I love Macau so we didn't think twice about it."
Arriving just before the onset of the Covid – 19 pandemic it was not an easy start, but Nick was heartened by the changes that had already been put in place by the MJC.
"I was surprised at the changes they had made with the transformation of the old stabling area. The new stables are much more open, with big windows that the horses can see more of the surroundings outside. They allow a lot of natural light in and have a great airflow through them. It's good for the horses, they are very content. As well the new swimming pool system is great, and as you can imagine it gets plenty of work during the very humid weather here."
"It's not been easy with the Covid situation and our borders closed for so long; so sourcing new owners has been difficult; but the new Buyers Incentive Scheme was a great success with 49 new horses arriving just last month," he added.
One of those horses was the former Group 3 Sha Tin Vase winner Thanks Forever, who was formerly trained by Nick's uncle John Moore, a former seven times Champion Trainer in Hong Kong, and one of the Club's most revered conditioners.
"He is a magnificent horse that beat Hot King Prawn in his last win there and has won over $13 million HKD in prize money. He suffered a bleeding attack and had to be retired from Hong Kong. With the MJC's more liberal stance on bleeders, Uncle John recommended that the owners send him here."
"He has arrived in super condition and I will just take my time with him and possibly look at running him early September. The owners are very happy, as they wanted to keep him racing if possible, and Macau is one of the few places that he can."
The MJC like all clubs worldwide has felt the brunt of the Covid-19 Virus, but has fared better than most. With racing on hold for long periods around the world in the early pandemic days, thanks to outstanding management of the Macau Government, racing only halted in the enclave for a total of 32 days.
The Club is anxiously awaiting the reopening of the Hong Kong – Macau Border, and with the mass vaccination programs already underway in both regions, it's only a matter of time before they can welcome their Hong Kong owners and racegoers back to the track.
The Buyer Incentive Scheme that offers a full refund of an owners $70,000 HKD permit, or the full refund of the Airfare (optional), proved a great success with 49 new horses arriving in April. The Club is already planning another shipment for July/August.
Whilst Covid-19 has delayed some projects within the Club, the installation of a new infield tote board with a diamond vision screen, is expected to proceed in the coming months.
Macau only has a population of around 650,000 people, with the bulk of the MJC's owners being Hong Kong based; however, a new avenue has opened up for the Club with the Guangdong - Greater Bay Development Area, a region that is home to 67 million people.
The high-speed train link that will take commuters from Guangzhou to Zhuhai, is designed to link up with Macau's Light Rapid Transit (LRT) system, with a stop that is conveniently located right at the front door of the Macau Jockey Club.
The fast travel and easy access to Macau from the Greater Bay Development Area, opens up a whole new market for sourcing new owners and racegoers to the Club.