Joao Moreira is confident three-year-olds Raging Storm and Hezthewonforus can bounce back from last start defeats as favourite as the Brazilian’s battle with Zac Purton for the jockeys’ championship continues today at Sha Tin.
Raging Storm disappointed as 1.5 favourite last time out while Hezthewonforus ran well first-up but had the misfortune of clashing into another smart three-year-old in Win Beauty Win.
Trainer John Size has put pacifiers on Raging Storm since that ineffectual effort and brings the sprinter back to 1,200m for the Class Three Chan Trophy.
“I think we can forgive him for last time, there was no obvious reason why he ran so badly, but he is a young horse and still learning,” Moreira said.
Stewards ordered Raging Storm back to the trials and the well-bred youngster pleased Moreira in a 1,200m dirt trial having already trialled at Happy Valley.
“He did everything we wanted to and I think the key to him could be the gear change,” he said. “I obviously expect him to run better than last time and be back to the form that saw him win two starts back.”
Hezthewonforus and Moreira line up for a rematch with Win Beauty Win and Purton in the final race of the day, a race that could decide what promises to be a tight Jockey Challenge and be pivotal to the jockeys’ championship.
Moreira extended his championship lead over Purton to eight wins with a double on Wednesday.
Win Beauty Win got the better of Hezthewonforus three weeks ago but Moreira believes his horse is open to improvement in the Class Three Stevenson Cup (1,400m).
“They are both three, but Win Beauty Win has been in Hong Kong a bit longer and my horse is still getting used to things here,” Moreira said.
“He beat us fair and square last time, I had to change direction making my run in the straight but I never lost momentum.”
Hezthewonforus was third in the same trial Raging Storm ran in last Friday and Moreira said the way the Kiwi import is able to begin could be a key difference.
“Last start he didn’t jump as well as we wanted to and as a result he was racing further back than we expected him to be,” he said. “We drew another good barrier and the way he got away in the trial is encouraging, hopefully this time we can take advantage of the gate.”