Joao Moreira seems to have a stranglehold on Saturday’s Jockey Challenge but fellow Brazilian Silvestre de Sousa is quietly confident of an upset.
Moreira was installed a dominant $1.33 favourite, and while de Sousa was next in line at $7, he’s confident of striking early and late in the day.
In the opening event, Peter Ho Leung’s Great Speed returns to Sha Tin for the first time this season, while in the last de Sousa rides the Tony Millard-trained Super Lifeline for the first time in nearly a year.
Great Speed is yet to win in 32 starts, with even the famous magic touch of Moreira failing to get the six-year-old across the line first.
“I have a bit of luck with these types of horses, the ones that have never won,” de Sousa said.
“Everybody has tried, Joao did his best, but maybe we can get the win. It’s an open race and he has drawn well in three, he doesn’t have any gate speed anyway, but we will ride him quiet and I think he can get into it late.”
Super Lifeline contests a supercompetitive Class Two to close the day and although drawing barrier 12 was a blow, de Sousa again believes he is a knock-out chance.
“I think his best form is up to this and he is racing well,” he said. “1,400m is his best distance, and when I rode him in Class One last season he ran a great race and was only beaten by a horse that was racing very well at the time, Thewizardofoz.”
De Sousa has some solid rides between the first and last races as well, with John Moore’s Go Beauty Go the most favoured of his chances in early markets.
Moreira jumped off Go Beauty Go before the horse’s breakthrough last-start win and with Zac Purton suspended, de Sousa is happy to pick up the crumbs.
“It’s nice of him to leave something for the rest of us,” de Sousa said, smiling, with Moreira set to ride likely second favourite Imperial Seal.
“Go Beauty Go has to carry top weight now but we have drawn well. It took him a while to win his first race but I still think he has some upside in him.”
Moreira will be very hard to beat in the Jockey Challenge, with a trio of John Size-trained favourites, with Dr Listening, Beat The Clock and Prawn Baba all strongly supported.