Larry Yung Chi-kin already has a potential star on his hands with Eastern Express but Joao Moreira believes the high profile owner could have two more directions covered with debutants Southern Express and Western Express.
Yung appears to be attempting to be covering each point of the compass with his horse names but both of Saturday’s first-starters should be heading north in the ratings according to Moreira.
Southern Express cost Yung A$575,000 as a yearling, which will always raise expectations, and three excellent trials since arriving with John Size would have done nothing to dissuade punters from jumping in to back the three-year-old first time out in Class Four.
“I think he is quite talented and he moves nicely,” Moreira said of a gelding that has been up on the pace in each of his trials. “He has good gate speed, he showed that in his trials, and I wouldn’t even be surprised if he leads.”
Breeding says 1,400m might be on the short side for Southern Express, being by Redoute’s Choice and out of a Galileo mare that is a half-sister to VRC Oaks winner Special Harmony, but Moreira says the trip is an ideal starting point.
“For the moment this is the right distance, even if the horse might seem like he needs further, Mr Size doesn’t stretch them straight away – he builds the fitness first,” Moreira said.
Western Express won his two starts in Australia and starts in Class Three off a rating of 72.
Moreira is full of praise for the flashy looking chestnut, who tipped the scales at 1,266-pounds at the pre-race weigh-in.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins first-up,” Moreira said, with Western Express likely to be vying for favouritism in an open Class Three. “I like his temperament, and I like his long stride that covers a lot of ground.”
As usual, Moreira was installed a short-priced favourite in Jockey Challenge betting, but his quote looks entirely justified with a strong book of 10 rides.
Jockey Club oddsmakers put up $1.60 about Moreira, which was quickly trimmed to $1.55 as money poured in for the Magic Man when markets opened.
There might not be many spoils during in-play betting either with the first part of Moreira’s day likely to produce some strong results.