The ‘Magic Man’ jockey Joao Moreira dominated the Hong Kong International Race Day by winning two of the four Group 1 races, the HK$25m Longines Hong Kong Cup (2000m) and the HK$23m Longines Hong Kong Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin.
Moreira teamed up with top Hong Kong trainer John Moore for the winning Group 1 double with Designs On Rome coming from last to take out the Hong Kong Cup while Able Friend also came from well back in the field to win the Hong Kong Mile.
The Brazilian born Moreira, who also won on Eroico earlier in the day, has dominated the Hong Kong jockey ranks in his first year riding there after being the number one jockey in Singapore for the last four years and has cleared out to a fourteen win lead with forty-four wins, over last year’s premier rider Zac Purton on thirty after last Sunday’s winning treble.
Moreira was that impressed with the finishing burst of Able Friend that he described the five year old as the best horse he has ever ridden.
“The way he’s won, coming from a long way back, passing by them and not even being hit by the whip – wow! He’s such an amazing horse. He has a great turn of foot and the way he won today gives me the feeling that he’s the best horse I’ve ever sat on,” Moreira told the Hong Kong Racing News.
“I was never worried in the race and knew exactly what I was doing.”
“I have a lot of faith in this horse and knew he was just going to come over the top of them. He has that kind of stride, a really big stride, that I knew that if he put it all together he was just going to run over the top.”
Moreira was also full of praise for Designs On Rome who was last on the home turn before being wound up and fighting out the finish with another Hong Kong super star Military Attack while the David Hayes trained Criterion ran a brave race to finish third after hitting the front in the straight.
“I had two rides on him before this race, and I learnt a lot about him,” Moreira said.
“We put it all together today and got the job done. I had to work hard but he showed me how much ability he’s got.”
“He’s such a good horse. He’s the kind of horse you have to get going on early otherwise he’s not going to have enough time to catch up with them. I was able to turn for home not too far off the leaders, and the leaders had gone quite hard.”
“I just had to challenge the horses in front of me, who were hard to get past, but he’s proven himself such a good horse and he’s got the job done. He does have such a great turn of foot. Military Attack was fighting towards the line but he got there.”
The Group 1 HK$16.5m Longines Hong Kong Vase (2400m) was taken out by the French combination of trainer Andre Fabre and jockey Maxime Guyon with Flintshire while the Group 1 HK$18.5m Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) was won by the Paul O’Sullivan trained Aerovelocity with Zac Purton in the saddle.