Jockey Joao Moreira insists he pays no attention to the price of horses he rides ahead of a stacked book at Sha Tin on Sunday.
The Magic Man will be saddled aboard recent Kwok-family purchase Beauty Legacy in the Class Two Broadwood Handicap (1,400m) along with expensive yearling Wild West Wing in the Class Four Yun Ping Handicap (1,000m).
Formerly named Hawkshot in Australia, Beauty Legacy is rumoured to have cost in excess of A$2 million (HK$10.8m), while Wild West Wing went under the hammer at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale in 2018 for A$750,000 (HK$4m).
Beauty Legacy comes to Hong Kong with a big reputation, running second to Mystic Journey in the Group One Australian Guineas (1,600m) last year before a midfield finish in the rich All Star Mile at Flemington.
His former trainer – the Hong Kong-bound David Hayes – said former connections must have received a “ridiculous” offer to sell.
While Beauty Legacy has a reputation to uphold in Hong Kong, Wild West Wing came to trainer John Size unraced and produced a promising first-up run at Happy Valley last month.
“I don’t check out how much they cost but the feeling he has been giving me in his trials and also in his last race, it feels like the owner has a very nice horse and he will have a good time,” Moreira said of the three-year-old.
The @allstarmile was truly-run race thanks to Hawkshot!— Racing.com (@Racing) March 17, 2019
Alizee had a sweet run in transit while Hartnell couldn't get clear room...
But the star of the show, Mystic Journey, sat three wide with no cover and still managed to win by 1.25 lengths! pic.twitter.com/hwaZCrF2M3
History says it is difficult for debutants to perform at Happy Valley over 1,000m but Wild West Wing bucked the trend after a tardy start from the barriers.
Jumping near last, Moreira was able to finish strongly into fourth place.
“It was a very good run, obviously having his first start over there [Happy Valley] and being so green, he wasn’t able to do things straightforward,” Moreira said.
“At the end of the day, the way he hit the line made me very happy. He is still a little bit immature but I think if he brings that same form again, he is going to be very competitive.”
As a three-year-old Moreira said Wild West Wing is far from the finished product, believing he would race over more distance with time.
“I would say 1,000m on the straight track is not his perfect distance but for the time being, John Size has him on the right course. Don’t be surprised if in time if Size steps him up over 1,400m or a mile,” he said.
With less than three per cent of previously raced horses winning in Class Two on debut in Hong Kong, history is against Beauty Legacy.
Moreira agreed, saying he had been working with Size in an attempt to try and iron out any problems.
“He is a bit underdone still I would say. When I say underdone, there was no miracle that John could do to get him 100 per cent, but he has done his best,” he said.
“We have been trying to educate him as best we can because he seems a very temperamental type of a horse, a bit strong, he switches on and off so we don’t know what mood he is going to be in on the day.
“His form would make you think he is a very good horse.”
Moreira takes a full book of rides into the meeting including Chefano and Monica for John Moore.