The law of averages indicate that Joao Moreira should bounce back with a big haul at Sha Tin on Sunday but better Jockey Challenge value might be found waiting until late in the day to bet.
Moreira went without a win at Happy Valley on Wednesday and the Magic Man again returns home from Sydney empty handed after failing to ride a winner on day one of The Championships.
The last time Moreira didn’t ride a winner at a Sha Tin fixture he rode a double at the following midweek meeting before smashing the all-time record for wins in a day with eight wins on March 5.
The “magic eight” was part of a remarkable sequence of seven meetings where Moreira rode 26 winners, a stretch that also included a five-timer on BMW Hong Kong Derby day.
Karis Teetan has beaten Moreira in the Jockey Challenge at the last two meetings but a similar upset looks less likely today.
Moreira opened $1.22, with a ride in all 10 races, and Teetan was the only other jockey who opened single figures in betting at $9.
Even though Moreira has the usual assortment of short-priced fancies to start the day, and could simply end the Jockey Challenge early, if he does start slow it could make his in-running odds more appealing.
Moreira’s chances in the final four races look more proven, with Regency Bo Bo, Bravo Watchman, Western Express and General Sherman all solid chances in their respective races.
The Tony Cruz-trained three-year-old Regency Bo Bo bombed the start last time out, ruining his chances, but ran on in a decent manner for seventh behind Nothingilikemore.
Regency Bo Bo was second to the same rising star two starts back as well, and a similar performance, and clean start, should see him go close here.
Cruz’s youngster passed his barrier trial test and looked good in a 1,200m dirt hit out just over two weeks ago.
Moreira then rides another three-year-old, Chris So Wai-yin’s unbeaten sprinter Bravo Watchman, as the big gelding steps up to 1,200m and tackles a turn for the first time.
A wide barrier will make it more difficult, but two trials at Happy Valley have been a good grounding, and Bravo Watchman does seem to have some points in hand.
The John Size-trained four-year-old Western Express is two-from-two over 1,400m at Sha Tin and returns to the same course and distance looking to make the leap into group race territory – a step he looks well equipped to take.
In a competitive final race, Moreira rides General Sherman, who caught the eye when charging home for fourth behind Mambo Rock over 2,000m and now drops back to 1,800m.
Last start, a wide barrier gave Brett Prebble few options but this time a low draw ensures Moreira can be a touch closer and that could be key to his chances.