By Joao Moreira, as told to Alan Aitken
This was the heaviest pressure I have ever felt.
On the way to the parade ring, I nearly came down in tears because I knew the expectation was big. The pressure from myself and from others. I was going to have to face the owner expressing his excitement, his nervousness. John Moore is a trainer who is pretty positive and wants to make it happen, so he gave me my instructions. Then I have so many things on my mind when I got out there with Rapper Dragon.
I went to the gates, I was breathing deeply, giving myself time then when we got in there, I tried to calm down. What I’ve been told from day one, by my master Ivan Quintana, who taught me everything, calm down, deal with your horse. You know what you have to do. If you are nervous and too excited, you will transmit that to your horse and things can go wrong. So I breathe deeply in the gate and the horse was very kind in there.
When the gates opened, he was faster than those inside him and, easily and quickly, I got in a position. Then I put my hands down and he relaxed and I said to myself this is everything I wished – a good position, the pace not very fast and he’s enjoying himself.
When we passed by the back straight, things started to change around. I ended up on the fence and I thought “I know what’s going to happen”. Everyone else had in mind that the fence is off. So the gaps may come through in there and I would have to go there, so I didn’t stay on the fence because I couldn’t take the risk.
I pulled out two off the rail after the 700m and then a gap appeared between My Darling and Circuit Hassler. So I put Rapper Dragon in there and, when we turned for home, I had to shoulder out to make sure I came through. When I did that, he just, whoosh, got in front and I knew I had got in front too early. I knew that but I had to do what I did or I may not have had the same run two or three seconds later.
So I got in front and I put lengths on the horses who led the race but I knew other horses were coming so I rode him along. Between the 350m and the 200m, he snaked around a little so I switched hands with the whip, right, left, right, left again and he straightened and then I knew I was going to get there.
I still have in my memory coming across the line and the first thing that came up in my mind was what my sister said to me the night before: the power of God is who will make it happen.