When Joao Moreira, arguably the world’s best jockey, flew out of late on Saturday night, he was understandably elated with his group 1 success that afternoon at Caulfield, and keen to ensure he had enough sleep in flight to cope with nine rides at Sha Tin in Hong Kong the next day.
It had been Moreira’s first time around the tricky and often awkward Caulfield circuit and he still managed to bring home a double and leave Victorians in awe of his talent. One jockey, after seeing Moreira in action, commented that “he should have to carry more weight than the rest of us because he’s that good”.
Just last week the racing world had watched in amazement as Moreira shattered his own record of riding the fastest first 100 winners in a season; by achieving the record in February, it means the season still has seven months to run.
However, late on Sunday afternoon the unthinkable happen:
Moreira shattered one of his own records, but it was one that he would rather not do again.
While ns were digesting the skill and poise he showed on Sheidel when winning the Oakleigh Plate, Hong Kong – and ex-pat ns – were coming to terms with the fact that Moreira had failed to ride a winner at the 10-race program at Sha Tin.
It was the first time since April 2016 that Moreira had gone through a meeting in Hong Kong without having ridden a winner, ending
a remarkable sequence of success.
When confronted with the news, Moreira said he was quite taken aback at first.
“Wow, I didn’t really think that it had been that long since I went without a winner,” he said.
“It was a good record but now it’s gone – I’ll have to start working on getting back into the winner’s stall on Wednesday at Happy Valley.”
Moreira will fly into again next Saturday but will ride in Sydney, doing the bulk of the riding for Chris Waller with Hugh Bowman suspended.
Moreira will ride quality three-year-old Comin’ Through in the Randwick Guineas. Melbourne-based jockey Michael Walker was to have ridden Comin’ Through but has been sidelined with a back problem.
Moreira and Waller are no strangers to major race successes, having joined forces for group 1 wins with Brazen Beau in the Newmarket Handicap two years ago and with He’s Your Man in the 2014 Epsom Handicap.
Moreira has also picked up the ride on Heatherly in the group 2 Challenge Stakes.
Another leading rider Zac Purton will also fly out of his Hong Kong base to be at Rosehill on Saturday. Purton will ride Malaise in the Randwick Guineas and Impending in the group 1 Canterbury Stakes.
Both Moreira and Purton have enjoyed great success in their lightning visits to Melbourne and Sydney in the last two years.
In other news, high-class sprinter The Quarterback easily earned his barrier certificate when he trialled successfully at Cranbourne on Monday morning.
Stewards asked trainer Robbie Griffiths to trial the horse after he played up in the barrier stalls and had to be withdrawn prior to the Lightning Stakes last Saturday week.
High-class two-year-old Jukebox, who had to be withdrawn from last Saturday’s $1.5 million Blue Diamond Stakes, will continue towards the Golden Slipper after a veterinary examination showed that an abscess on the youngster’s heel had burst over the weekend.