Danny Shum Chap-shing has entrusted leading jockey Joao Moreira with almost HK$18 million worth of horseflesh at Sunday’s season opener and the leading rider says the trainer’s raw young talents are ready to win.
Shum’s three-year-olds Travel Emperor (HK$7.2 million) and Household King (HK$10.5 million) were both high profile purchases out of the Hong Kong International Sale in March, in fact the latter was a record-breaking buy for owner Peter Lau Pak-fai.
Travel Emperor steps up to 1,200m at his second start after an impressive first-up win late last season while Household King makes his debut over the same distance.
“I’ve had a lot to do with both of these horses in the mornings, and I think they are both ready to go,” Moreira said.
Travel Emperor has already had a chance to prove he is a progressive horse with an easy debut win, but now jumps nine ratings points and tackles a turn for the first time in a race from an awkward draw.
“I’m not that worried about the draw,” Moreira said. “When I won on him up the straight, he was hanging in and wanting to find a rail or something to follow, this might help him. He doesn’t really ping out of the gates and I think we have to just let him show his natural pace, wherever he lands will be fine. He has talent and has plenty of wins in him. He will obviously be better this season.”
Moreira’s off-season stint in Sapporo meant he missed riding both Travel Emperor and Household King trials last Saturday but rode both in gallops on Thursday.
Perhaps Household King hasn’t shown the sheer natural talent of his stablemate but Moreira indicated the gelding was a more straightforward proposition.
“He does nothing wrong and just travels on the bridle, if there is a horse that can win first-up, this is the one, and I don’t think it is a very strong race,” he said. “He has been trialling over 1,000m but he has been indicating he needs further – this distance is perfect.”
Shum has also booked Moreira on Seasons Bloom in the Chief Executive Cup and although 1,200m looks on the short side for the five-year-old, the jockey is hoping he can form a longer association with the gelding.
“I am not booked to ride him after this race, but he is definitely a horse that I am keen to keep riding, he is an up-and-coming horse and headed towards the Hong Kong Mile,” he said. “1,200m is too short for him, no doubt, but being fresh I expect him to be sharper and that gives him more chance to be competitive. Out of these horses, I expect him to be the one that will be rated highest at the end of this season.”