Horse Racing
Moreira’s looking for Easy Go Easy Win to sparkle in the Sapphire Handicap

By David Morgan
23/03/2018 17:04

Easy Go Easy Win scores in his Hong Kong debut last December.
Easy Go Easy Win scores in his Hong Kong debut last December.

Not even a full week on from Ping Hai Star’s brilliant BMW Hong Kong Derby victory, already there is tentative talk of next year’s four-year-old showcase, with Easy Go Easy Win (125lb) out to highlight his developing credentials at Sha Tin on Sunday (25 March).

The Class 2 Sapphire Handicap (1600m) – with its HK$1.86 million purse being worth roughly one-tenth of the Derby pot – might not trip off the tongue as an obvious Classic Series pointer, but that is the race in which trainer John Moore’s smart three-year-old will continue his education.

Champion Jockey Joao Moreira is pleased to retake the reins on the freshman Savabeel gelding, having partnered for a first-up win over 1200m back in December.

“I think he’s a very nice horse and a horse that has a future as well,” Moreira said, before forwarding the Derby as a long-term aim. “I believe he’ll go higher and I believe he’s a horse that can go on to the Derby next year. The way he can do things, you’d think he can stay that distance.”

But a lot of water can flow under a bridge in a 12-month span; for now, Moreira has his sights set on that Class 2 and a second victory for the bay at start five.

“Those two chances I had to ride him, he gave me a nice feel both times. The day that he won he was green and kind of running around a little bit but he was still able to finish off very strongly and win easily. Second-up, he was beaten by two very good horses in my opinion – one was Pingwu Spark, who I rate as a pretty good one.”

The form of Easy Go Easy Win’s latest two starts is nothing to decry either: a half-length second to John Size’s unbeaten four-year-old Conte over a mile and then a solid half-length fourth to the re-opposing Eastern Express (129lb) at the same track and trip.

“Last time he was just in need of some help, so the thing about him this time is that John has decided to put the blinkers on – if he can relax the first half of the race and finish it off, I think we’re good,” Moreira said.

“He’s been doing very well, he trialled well with me the other day and if he delivers his best, he’s a winning chance, for sure.”

Easy Go Easy Win faces tough Class 2 opposition though. The 11-runner field features the Frankie Lor-trained Simply Brilliant (122lb) with Zac Purton in the plate. The Frankel chestnut finally hit the line in front last time after four placed efforts. The four-year-old steps up to a mile for the first time since he finished sixth in last June’s Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot.

Citron Spirit (orange cap) wins the Hakka Cup over 1600m at Sha Tin earlier this season.
Citron Spirit (orange cap) wins the Hakka Cup over 1600m at Sha Tin earlier this season.

Also in the line-up is the Ricky Yiu-trained Citron Spirit (126lb), the mount of Chad Schofield. The two-time course and distance winner has made the frame this season in each of his starts at around a mile and drops back to 1600m after running seventh over 2000m last month.

“I think the distance was the factor last time,” Schofield said. “We had a lovely run but he’s at the rating now (92) where he’s carrying big weights in Class 2 and I think over that trip it just found him out. Back to a mile I think is a good move by Ricky.

“He trialled super last week so he’s going as well as ever. The weight’s just a worry because he’s a small horse.

“He’s really come into his own this season in Hong Kong, he’s produced his best form and he’s held it all the way through. He’s still at that similar level so hopefully he can get another win,” he concluded.

Also in the line-up are Doyeni (127lb), Sergeant Titanium (127lb), Keen Venture (124lb), Jolly Jolly (122lb), Simply Invincible (121lb), Star Majestic (119lb) and General Sherman (118lb).

Exciting prospects are the rage

Moreira will be aboard one of several exciting prospects currently stabled in the Size yard in Sunday’s last race at Sha Tin, the Class 3 Topaz Handicap (1400m). Raging Storm caught the eye with a late flourish after running immaturely on debut back in February but was more professional when an easy winner at the course and distance in Class 4 on 3 March.

Raging Storm (left) makes all to open his Hong Kong account last start.
Raging Storm (left) makes all to open his Hong Kong account last start.

“His debut here in Hong Kong, he was just so green, he wasn’t able to show his capability,” Moreira said. “Last time, when he drew wide, everyone thought he was still going to be green but he was able to jump clear and put himself right away in front of the race. He showed what he was capable of, and, based on that I’m full of confidence that he’s going to go up in class and make it again.

“He’s definitely improved a lot from his first run,” he continued. “He was much sharper out of the gate in his second race, he travelled nicely on the bridle and when I asked him to quicken he did it very well.”

Schofield, meanwhile, had only positive things to say about the Tony Millard-trained Refined Treasure in race two, the Class 4 Amethyst Handicap down the 1000m straight.

“I really like him as a type,” he said of the twice-raced three-year-old. “His win the other day with me was pretty dominant and he’s had a nice gap in between that run and his next one to recover. His work since has been very nice. He had a quiet trial on the dirt the other morning and he felt really good, so Class 4 1000 (metres), he’s going to be hard to beat.

“There’s another horse that won impressively on debut, Complacency, so they both look very nice horses but my bloke’s quite talented.”

And the hoop is also taken with the first-time starter District Express, from the Ricky Yiu stable. Nash Rawiller will be in the plate on Sunday but Schofield has partnered the three-year-old in two barrier trials.

“I have a lot of time for that horse,” he said. “He’s been giving me a tremendous feel in the mornings. He hasn’t really done a great deal, his two trials have been pretty quiet so whether he needs the run we’ll wait and see, but he’s definitely a quality horse.”

Sunday’s action starts at 12.45pm with the Class 5 Amber Handicap (1200m).