Joao Moreira powers towards record as John Size extends lead in trainers’ championship
A four-timer for Brazilian jockey puts him on track to reach the old Douglas Whyte benchmark in a far quicker time than last season
While champion jockey Joao Moreira moved slickly to within touching distance of the old win record that he destroyed last season, John Size just as notably increased his margin at the top of the trainers’ championship table with a treble.
Moreira is now on 111 wins, just a few short of the record Douglas Whyte held for a decade before the Brazilian made a mess of it in 2015, and his championship race has been over for months but Size is opening up a serious gap at the top of the leaderboard too, with a break of 12 over his nearest rival Danny Shum Chap-shing after Volitation, Right Call and Raging Bull all combined with Moreira to produce tough winning performances after not everything went perfectly.
Raging Bull had to be used up to gain the lead before kicking on to score and Right Call was forced to work chasing a tearaway lightweight leader, but perhaps Volitation, a three-year-old son of Melbourne Cup winner Shocking, left the strongest long-term impression on Moreira after sitting wide in a strong pace before breaking his maiden at start number three.
“To me, I was really surprised that he won,” Moreira said later, shaking his head. “He was exposed, he couldn’t get in and you know he is not even close to his best. Not even close. Of course, that’s what you want if you’re the owner - a horse who is going to keep progressing into next year and it seems to me they have the right horse. He’s still a baby but he won like that in his third start - it’s a nice indication for his future.”
There will be no classic hopes, however distant, for the likes of Right Call and Raging Bull, since they’re already four, but there will surely be more wins as Size makes his inexorable march to an eighth trainers’ title.
“John seems to have a lot of these horses with more wins in them. I feel sure Right Call can win again in Class Three,” Moreira said. “When that horse took off in front, I thought he would stop, so I didn’t go after him or try to attack him too early. I gave Right Call an easy time through the middle of the race and I knew when I pressed the button he would give me something. But still, I think I pressed it at the right moment - a second later and he probably gets beaten.
“He’s quite a one-paced horse and doesn’t sprint quickly but he gives you what he can and did a good job with 133 pounds even if the margin was small.”
There was a time when Raging Bull could have overraced and would have folded up after having to do the work to cross the field that he had to do yesterday from an outside draw but the Savabeel gelding is looking more appropriately named as time goes on and he continues to toughen up with racing.
“He can overrace when he’s behind horses but in front he switches off and you can throw your reins over his neck,” he said.
“I had to work him today early or I would have been left exposed and wide but I was able to give him a breather once he crossed to the lead and he gave me a strong kick. His form probably didn’t look that great coming into this race but I got a lot of confidence from how he paraded so calmly. Even before I got on him, John said to me the horse is very relaxed and would probably do everything right for me in the race today. As usual, he was 100 per cent right.”