Joao Moreira believes he will take his best winning chance ever into Tuesday’s Group One Melbourne Cup (3,200m).
The star Hong Kong-based jockey will ride the David Hayes-trained Constantinople after a drama-filled week which saw three-time Cup winning jockey Glen Boss replaced by Moreira at the eleventh hour because of suspension.
Despite Moreira being placed on standby for the ride last week, there was uncertainty over who would ride the European import with Boss appealing the suspension.
However, Moreira did not want to jeopardise his rides at Happy Valley on Wednesday night to travel to Melbourne as a standby rider.
After coming an agonisingly close in the race in 2016 on Heartbreak City, Moreira said Constantinople was the horse to take him to the race he wanted to win “the most”.
“He is probably my best ride in the Melbourne Cup so far, even with Heartbreak City setting the bar high when he ran second three years ago,” he told the Post.
“I would rate this guy as a better ride than Heartbreak City but we still have to sit and watch what he is going to deliver over 3,200m as the most he has run is just more than 2,400m.”
Constantinople ran a luckless fourth in the Group One Caulfield Cup two weeks ago in what was his first Australian start, giving the Brazilian jockey hope his best was just around the corner on the first Tuesday in November.
“His last run in the Caulfield Cup was very impressive I thought, he was a bit unlucky when he didn’t get the split early enough,” he said.
“I think if he had that gap early enough, he could have been the winner.
“While it was unlucky for the connections of the horse, there are some good points when you look at the Melbourne Cup.
“If he had of won that race, his weight wouldn’t be as light as he is getting – 52.5kg.
Two of the best rides in a #MelbourneCup you will ever see.— Racing.com (@Racing) November 4, 2018
WATCH as @kpmcevoy (Almandin - Gate 24) perfectly tracks Joao Moreira's every move (Heartbreak City - Gate 23).
Sorry to wheel this out again, @atbloodstock. pic.twitter.com/IWdi83YrUN
“He crossed the line on that occasion showing he had stuff left inside himself, that will help him come out and perform at his very best in the Melbourne Cup.”
Constantinople will jump from barrier seven in the 24-horse field.
Despite Moreira missing the race in 2017 after a sickening fall earlier in the card, he is again accepting rides leading up the A$7.75 million (HK$41) feature.
“David [Hayes] has put me down for another four or five rides and they will be a good warm up, hopefully some of them give me a good feel and some good results,” he said.
“In saying that, I am only going there for the Cup.
“I haven’t spoken to David in details about the ride yet but I am sure that will come, we will go from there.”
The Hong Kong-bound Hayes has combined with Moreira for Group One glory in Australia before with the duo taking out the 2017 Oakleigh Plate (1,100m) on Sheidel at Caulfield.
They last paired up to win with Catchy in the Group Two Arrowfield Sprint at Randwick last year.