Joao Moreira has already gone from hero to zero this week but hopes to be back on the winner’s rostrum after Sunday’s Group One Centenary Sprint Cup in which he rides up-and-coming star Beat The Clock.
Last Sunday, Moreira piloted the John Size-trained superstar Nothingilikemore to victory in the Hong Kong Classic Mile, part of a double that clinched the Jockey Challenge for the eighth time in 12 meetings.
Wednesday’s all-dirt meeting brought the Brazilian down to earth with a thud though.
Moreira finished the midweek fixture without a single Jockey Challenge point after failing to place on all eight of his rides.
“I tried my best but I really didn’t have a strong book of rides,” was all the ever-positive Moreira had to say about the shutout. “And now I am looking forward to Sunday.”
Beat The Clock arrives as the new horse on the Group One scene, squaring off against the established stars that include stablemates Mr Stunning and D B Pin.
How the four-year-old measures up against his older and more experienced rivals at level weights is the big question for the lowest-rated horse in the race.
“He is the one there that has to prove himself, but if he is there in the finish fighting with them I won’t be surprised because I have a high opinion of him,” Moreira said.
Even if Moreira can’t say for certain that Beat The Clock will take the next step, the jockey is sure that a step back to 1,200m is more suitable.
Last start, Beat The Clock was narrowly beaten in a slugfest with fellow rising star Fifty Fifty after the pair went side-by-side up the straight at the end of 1,400m.
Even though Beat The Clock may have even shaded his rival for the lead with 200m to go, Moreira said “he got tired over the last 100m”.
“I don’t think Fifty Fifty found another gear, I think we just ran out of gas. With 100m to go I knew I wasn’t going to get him, I nearly said to Karis [Teetan] ‘you’ve got this one’. I could feel my horse was empty and had nothing else to give. I have a high opinion of Fifty Fifty though, so I think to finish within half a length of him is a great sign.”
Moreira reunites with Danny Shum Chap-shing’s Seasons Bloom in the Group One Stewards’ Cup six weeks after finishing fourth as favourite in the Group One Hong Kong Mile.
“I rode him in trackwork on Thursday and he is flying,” Moreira said. “He has to be respected, he was hot favourite on international day after winning the lead-up race. I have faith in him, it’s a tough test but he is capable.”