Champion jockey Joao Moreira fears Hong Kong-based jockeys could miss out on overseas Group One rides in the future after Typhoon Haima prompted Jockey Club officials to revoke his licence to ride Vadamos in Saturday’s Cox Plate.
Moreira was set to ride the fourth favourite in the prestigious race but with just 18 jockeys available for 14-horse fields on Sunday, stewards withdrew Moreira’s permission to travel to Melbourne, along with that of Sam Clipperton, who was due to ride at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
“I respect the club officials decision and I understand their point of view, but later on I think the decision will have an impact on all of us,” Moreira said. “Even though it is a rare situation with the weather, now when trainers and owners look to us to ride their horses in big races there will be that seed of doubt, not just in Australia, but all over the world.
“What is going to happen down the road? The club benefits from us riding overseas as well, it lifts the profile of racing here. Now everybody will be hesitating to call us for a ride.”
Moreira now looks to Sunday where he rides Joyful Trinity, one of five runners for John Moore in the Group Two Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy.
The Brazilian is in the remarkable situation of having ridden eight of the other 11 horses in the race and is happy to be aboard a four-year-old that keeps raising the bar.
“Because it is a handicap and he gets in with 122-pounds, he gets his chance,” Moreira said. “Looking beyond this race to where he doesn’t get the same advantage, then let’s see. But this is the next logical step, he won a Group Three last time, and now he has to step up to Group Two level.”
Also in Joyful Trinity’s favour is race fitness, with some of the horse’s highly credentialed rivals resuming with big weights – leading him to nominate Tony Cruz-trained miler Beauty Only as his biggest danger.
“I’m glad he drew out in barrier 11,” Moreira said. “He was really finding the line last start over 1,400m, a distance that isn’t his best and he looked to have a lot of improvement left in him.”