Joao Moreira has jumped at the chance to ride the Andre Fabre-trained Vadamos in next weekend’s Group One Cox Plate at Moonee Valley as the Brazilian’s big race commitments in Australia continue to build.
A 20-meeting reckless riding suspension to champion Australian jockey Damien Oliver gifted Moreira the opportunity to ride the impressive last start winner of the Group One Prix du Moulin de Longchamp at Chantilly.
Many see next Saturday’s A$3million weight-for-age feature as a two horse race between Winx and Hartnell but Moreira is happy to be on the horse rated in most ante-post markets as the next best chance.
“His form out of Europe is very good, and even though those top two will be hard to beat I think my horse deserves to be rated next, Vadamos has been running against some very nice horses,” Moreira said.
Oliver is set to make a last ditch effort to appeal and may front the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) on race eve, but it seems his hopes of having the ban overturned are slim.
Vadamos will be Moreira’s first ride in a Cox Plate and 10 days later the record-breaking jockey will be aboard Heartbreak City in the Group One Melbourne Cup.
“Being a former jumper that has been brought back to flat racing, we know he will run the distance,” Moreira said of the dominant Ebor Handicap winner. “Still, he has some turn of foot which can make the difference in the Melbourne Cup.”
The rider adding he is weighing up options for the Victoria Derby on October 29.
Moreira is riding in superb form and ripped through the midweek meeting at Happy Valley with five wins and an incredible sequence of four straight to open the meeting.
He returns to Sha Tin with another commanding book of rides, starting with Ricky Yiu Poon-fai’s Cheer Win in the opening event.
Cheer Win’s inexperience and lack of race fitness showed when the three-year-old was fifth last start but looks a good chance after another trial and Moreira replacing Alvin Ng Ka-chun.
“This isn’t a strong race, being restricted to three-year-olds, and based on the feeling he gave me in the trial he is ready to win this kind of race,” he said.
Moreira also gave a push to two likely favourites in Danewin Express, having its second run in Class Five after a last start second, and Invention Master, stepping up in trip after an unlucky third last time out.