With his bookings for Dubai World Cup night finalised, the record-breaking Joao Moreira warms up for the world’s richest night of racing with an ominous looking set of rides that could deliver another big haul at Happy Valley.
Moreira not only rides the John Size-trained Amazing Kids in the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan on Saturday, but has attracted two rides each from Japan and Ireland.
Of the two Japanese hopes, Group One-winning mare Vivlos looms as a great chance in the Dubai Turf and while Gold Dream is considered an outsider in the Dubai World Cup, the four-year-old’s recent work has been outstanding.
Wild Dude was a Grade One winner in America before being purchased by Chinese interests and should be competitive in what is a wide open Golden Shaheen and Moreira reunites with Melbourne Cup runner-up Heartbreak City in the Dubai Gold Cup.
Even by Moreira’s standards, he is on fire of late, the BMW Hong Kong Derby was one of five winners at last Sunday’s Sha Tin meeting and gave him 21 victories in six meetings so far in March.
Stretching back through the last 30 days, Moreira has ridden an extraordinary 26 winners from 78 starts, a one in three strike rate, to take his seasonal tally to 121 from 55 meetings.
The Brazilian shows no signs of slowing on Wednesday night either, with a chance that all seven of his rides start favourite in betting.
Agiaal, Circuit King, Bumble Baby, Po Ching Treasure, Lotus Breeze and Marvel Hero were all favourites in early markets, while his other ride, Powermax, was second pick and is chasing three straight wins.
Meanwhile, trainer Almond Lee has bounced back after a couple of disappointing campaigns and could move a couple of steps closer to meeting the benchmark criteria with a big night at the city circuit.
Lee is sitting on two strikes under the “three strikes” system and would have to face a show cause hearing and fight for his license if he doesn’t reach 16 winners for the season.
That shouldn’t be a problem with just three more winners required from the last 32 meetings and a small but strong three-horse team heading across town on Wednesday night.
Agiaal dropped into Class Five last start and after finding a lovely spot in the run, never got clear in the straight and should go closer from another low draw and Moreira in the saddle from barrier three.
Sum Win Dragon is another ride injured jockey Keith Yeung Ming-lun has had to forgo due to injury as Karis Teetan takes the seat on a horse that was narrowly beaten at the Valley last time out and steps up to 1,800m.