Jockey Joao Moreira will be out to notch yet another milestone at Happy Valley on Wednesday night with the Magic Man needing just three more winners to bring up 100 for the season.
It seems like it might be an all-or-nothing night for the Brazilian, with four of his rides drawn 10 or worse with the rail out in the C+3 rail position, and his other four drawn advantageously in gates two, one, two and two.
It is one of these low gates that has Moreira rating Spinning Dancer his best chance but the champion rider admits it is now or never for the Manfred Man Ka-leung-trained miler.
Spinning Dancer hasn’t won for more than a year but the circumstances give the gelding a golden opportunity to breakthrough in the second race, the Fo Tan Handicap.
“If he can’t win this he might never win,” Moreira said of the seven-year-old, who has placed at his last four starts over the same 1,650m course. “He has barrier one and faces a field that is pretty low on quality.”
If Moreira is successful it will frank the form for another of his rides, Imperial Seal, who beat Spinning Dancer by two-and-a-half-lengths last start.
Imperial Seal needs to overcome gate 10 to notch three straight victories in the second section of the Fo Tan Handicap (race four) but Moreira says Caspar Fownes’ gelding is ready to go even higher.
“I think he can win three in a row, the way he won last start was convincing,” he said.
“He has gone up a little bit in rating but I think that last win showed he is capable of winning again in Class Four and maybe even in Class Three. The draw is a little bit tricky but hopefully he is just a little bit better than them.”
While Moreira gets some help from low draws aboard Smart Salute and Spinning Dancer early in the night, and later on Money Boy and Cheerful Boy, he will have to be at his best on others.
Imperial Seal jumps from gate 10, as does Pakistan Star in the feature race, while G-One Lover has drawn gate 11 in the Kwai Chung Handicap.
G-One Lover made a solid return from injury last start when third behind Arm Runda, jockey Alexis Badel setting off very early and travelling wide around the turn.
Moreira rode G-One Lover on Monday at trackwork and although he was pleased with the five-year-old, the jockey wasn’t getting carried away with his chances.
“He gave me a great feel at trackwork, I’m just a bit worried about the gate and getting exposed from there,” Moreira said.
“Last time he ran very well, we need a little bit of luck to win in this grade. He is the type of horse that is good enough to win in Class Four, but he needs things to go his way.”