‘The Magic Man’ Joao Moreira, fresh off riding a record eight winners at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on Sunday, is in line to collect another Melbourne Autumn Carnival Group 1 win with Flying Artie in the $1.25m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.
The Brazilian born, Hong Kong based jockey bettered his record of six winners in a day that he shared with Douglas Whyte and Brett Prebble and he will be bringing that dynamic form to Flemington for Super Saturday.
As well as riding Flying Artie in the Newmarket Handicap, Moreira will be aboard the John O’Shea trained Tally in the other Flemington feature race on the program, the Group 1 $1.5m Australian Cup (2000m).
Moreira is a regular visitor to the Racing Carnivals in Australia and was successful on the Lindsay Park trained Sheidel in the Group 1 $500,000 The Resimax Group Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 25.
The Magic Man rode at Randwick last Saturday without claiming a victory from eight rides but made up with a record eight winners at his home base at Sha Tin twenty-four hours later.
“I really don’t have words to describe it, it’s amazing. We know how tough it is to make it here in Hong Kong,” Moreira said.
“I didn’t expect it to happen, to be honest. To ride eight winners in a day here in Hong Kong is more than special.”
Moreira takes over from Damien Oliver on Flying Artie after the three time Melbourne Cup winner wasn’t expected to get down to the colt’s handicapped weight of 52.5kg and trainer Mick Price made the early call to book the Magic Man.
“With all due respect to Ollie – we spoke to Ollie about it – we’ve got to do our homework early and get prepared for these things and Ollie couldn’t ride under 53.5kg,” Price told Racing Victoria prior to the release of 2017 Newmarket Handicap weights.
“We’re thinking (Flying Artie’s Newmarket weight should be) 52.5kg roughly so we got in early and got permission from the Hong Kong Jockey Club to get Joao out here and I’m looking forward to it.
“The horse didn’t have a hard run in the Lightning and we get three weeks between runs and so he’s certainly nice and bright and fresh.
“I didn’t do anything with him Saturday morning to give him the whole week to bounce back.
“It was a very messy day the Lightning for us, but I’m sure he’ll turn up on the day and he loves the straight and he should run really well.”
Flying Artie was out of luck in the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 18 when Oliver was caught up behind horses and basically never got any clear running before finishing seventh to Terravista.
The Artie Schiller colt will be better suited over the 1200m down the Flemington straight, the same course and distance as the Group 1 $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) that he won during the 2016 Melbourne Cup Carnival with Hugh Bowman aboard.
Flying Artie is on the second line of betting for the Newmarket Handicap at $5 with Ladbrokes.com.au just behind the Black Caviar Lightning runner up Spieth at $4.20.
Early market order for the Newmarket Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.20 Spieth, $5 Flying Artie, $6 Extreme Choice, $7.50 Star Turn, $10 Illustrious Lad, $11 Hellbent, $13 Chautauqua, $17 Fell Swoop, Redkirk Warrior, Terravista, $21 Hey Doc, Sheidel, Super Cash, Supido, $26 Counterattack, Faatinah, Flamberge, The Quarterback, Tivaci, $34 or better the rest.