While he didn’t capture the Group One feature, Hong Kong’s superstar jockey Joao Moreira broke his Sydney drought in style with a double at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
A regular visitor to Australian shores, the Magic Man had endured a run of 28 outs in New South Wales coming into the meeting, and the pressure was on him to deliver.
The critics thought trainer Chris Waller would have been better off finding a local jockey for his three key runners, but those doubters were proven wrong as Moreira’s class shone through.
Watch: Joao Moreira wins the Group Three Kingston Town Stakes on McCreery
The Magic Man!— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) September 10, 2016
McCreery races away to win the G3 Kingston Town Stakes, thanks to a cracking ride from Joao Moreira! pic.twitter.com/QxNohwsjZ7
He opened his day with a textbook ride, putting McCreery in the perfect position to take out the Group Three Kingston Town Stakes, before guiding home Mackintosh in the Group Two Theo Marks Stakes to complete the double.
Both horses will now head to the Epsom Handicap, with Moreira leaning towards McCreery as the pick of the two going into the Group One.
The jockey wasn’t offended by the questions over his record, but was pleased to answer them in the best possible fashion.
Watch: Joao Moreira wins the Group Two Theo Marks Stakes on Mackintosh
“Last [time, at The Championships], I didn’t have the horses that could go well on the wet tracks,” Moreira said.
“But at the end of the day I’m just glad and happy to back, riding for Chris, riding winners. As I always say, I love Australia and I will have that in my mind and heart forever.”
While he was delighted to get two winners, Moreira missed out in the feature, as Omei Sword finished second to classy Godolphin colt Astern in the Group One Golden Rose.
Watch: Joao Moreira finishes second in the Group One Golden Rose on Omei Sword
“She was a bit unlucky, she got a bit held up turning for home but she faced a better horse on the day,” Moreira said. “I don’t think if I had a clear run earlier I would have beaten the winner.”
Fellow Hong Kong-based jockey Zac Purton was also competing in the Golden Rose, but his mount Yankee Rose faded to finish sixth after setting the early tempo.
Both jockeys were on the overnight flight back to Hong Kong for today’s Sha Tin meeting with Moreira a dominant $1.35 favourite in the Jockey Challenge, while Purton, fresh off a treble at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, is at $11.