Whether Joao Moreira chose to ride Joyful Trinity over Helene Paragon, or trainer John Moore asked him to, is largely irrelevant when it comes time to collect, but for what it is worth – the Brazilian believes he is on the best winning chance in the Group Three Celebration Cup.
Moreira has rides in all 11 races, with Joyful Trinity one of his best hopes for the day in the feature, and Jockey Club oddsmakers had the dual-championship winner installed a strong $1.20 favourite in Jockey Challenge betting.
The “Moreira factor” should ensure bottom weight Joyful Trinity starts favourite – and the four-year-old might have anyway after storming off the speed to run a short head second to upset winner Twin Delight last start.
Many expected Moreira to be aboard Helene Paragon first-up after two big wins on the exciting prospect at the end of last term but Moore has booked Sam Clipperton to ride the French-bred four-year-old, despite its higher rating and big race plans.
“I think I am on the fitter horse,” Moreira said.
But which is the better horse?
“I have a high opinion of both of them,” the jockey said, diplomatically. “Look, I have to make a lot of choices, and sometimes I make a choice for the future – like this day last year, I chose to ride Peniaphobia over Not Listenin’tome, I was beaten on the day but I ended up winning the Hong Kong Sprint on Peniaphobia.
“This isn’t that type of decision though: the horse I am riding is the one I believe is the better chance in this race.”
Those looking for in-play value around Moreira in the Jockey Challenge could be disappointed, his day starts strong and arguably gets stronger through a middle part of the card that features two possible odds-on favourites in California Joy (race four) and Iron Boy (race six).
Before that Moreira rides a first-starter that has impressed him at the trials, Chris So Wai-yin’s four-year-old Dragon Warrior lining up in what looks a soft Class Four.
“He is a very nice horse and he should win a couple of races this season,” Moreira said.