“I believe I only got beaten on him because I didn’t know him,” Moreira said. “If I’d have ridden him before, I think I would have been able to get out of him that little bit extra, enough to get him there.”
Despite defeat, Moreira, on reflection, was pleased with the strapping chestnut’s effort. The British import shouldered 123lb, a full 8lb more than the winner in what was a high-class handicap.
“I thought that was an amazing performance by him. I was expecting him to be able to do that based on how he had been going,” he said.
Time Warp has taken a roundabout route to Sunday’s scheduled first start in Group 2. The four-year-old, a €37,000 yearling, began his career with Sir Mark Prescott in England, the man responsible for guiding the early career of Hong Kong champion Viva Pataca.
He won a Class 6 Southwell maiden by six lengths at his fifth start as a juvenile in 2015 and proceeded to rattle off a five-timer before being sold to race in Hong Kong. The galloper closed his European schooling with a brace of Listed wins at Craon and Saint-Cloud in France, the latter being his sole three-year-old start.
Time Warp now sports the high-profile red and black silks of Martin Siu.
The Archipenko gelding took time to acclimatise to Hong Kong racing. Seven races went by before a course record-setting breakthrough win over 1800m at Happy Valley back in June, which triggered a quick hat-trick before last season’s end.
Two placed efforts in G3 handicaps this term suggest the galloper is still on an upward curve, and the step up to 2000m could assist that progression.