In a case of “in John Size we trust”, Joao Moreira has stuck with Thewizardofoz for this month’s Group Two Premier Bowl, but the leading jockey is yet to decide which of John Moore’s milers he will choose from on the same day.
Moreira had the option of up to four top-class sprinters in the Premier Bowl on Sunday, October 23, but has backed one-time champion griffin Thewizardofoz, a horse whose early performances had him pegged as a future star, but who then failed to live up to expectations at Group One level late last term.
“I will ride Thewizardofoz, I have faith in this horse’s ability and Mr Size,” Moreira said.
Moreira weighed up the ride on Ricky Yiu Poon-fai’s Blizzard, even trialling the horse, but in the end went with Size’s regally bred sprinter, despite the horse being far less convincing at the trials. “Thewizardofoz didn’t trial that great but am I not worried about that. A John Size horse can take a little while to bring their best out – they aren’t that flashy in trackwork or trials, but he feels healthy, is striding out freely and he is keen to run. He is on his way and I have a very high opinion of this horse,” Moreira said.
Late last season Moreira surprised many when he gave the ride up on Peniaphobia, the horse he won the 2015 Longines Hong Kong Sprint aboard, in favour of Thewizardofoz, who failed to make an impact when 10th in the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize.
Moreira said the poor late-season showing by Thewizardofoz could be put down to being stretched to a mile for the four-year-old series midway through the term.
“He didn’t get that trip and we worked out he liked sprinting, but by the time he got back to the distances we think he is better at, he was flat. He was tired,” Moreira said.
Freshened and first-up, it would appear as though Thewizardofoz has every chance to prove himself in the Premier Bowl, but Moreira insisted it isn’t necessarily “D Day” for the horse.
“I am not putting that pressure on him. This race is going to be a great guide as to what type of horse you have underneath you looking ahead to the big races. But that goes for Peniaphobia too, or Amazing Kids, or any of the best horses. I would be happy if he just runs well, a nice third or fourth even.”
Thewizardofoz will face a hot field in the Premier Bowl, which not only sees National Day Cup runners Peniaphobia and Amazing Kids second-up, but also the return of Paul O’Sullivan’s Aerovelocity and Chairman’s Sprint Prize runner-up Lucky Bubbles.
On the same day, Moore could have six runners in the Group Two Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy as he aims his team towards international day, but the trainer and Moreira have yet to decide which the number one jockey will ride.
“Joao will ride either Joyful Trinity or Rapper Dragon,” Moore said. “Whichever one he doesn’t, Sam Clipperton will be on.”
Moore also indicated Designs On Rome (Karis Teetan), Victory Magic (Zac Purton), Helene Paragon (Chad Schofield) and Helene Happy Star (Opie Bosson) would contest the Group Two handicap, but has not confirmed riders for Not Listenin’tome or Dashing Fellow for the Premier Bowl.