Jockey Joao Moreira brought up a century of winners for the fourth consecutive season at Sha Tin tonight (Wednesday, 2 May), reaching the milestone with a win in the night’s feature, the Class 2 Victoria Racing Club Trophy Handicap (1650m), aboard Divine Boy.
The Me Tsui-trained Divine Boy charged home to beat odds-on favourite Calculation by three-quarters of a length, allowing Moreira to smash through what he calls a “mental block” of a figure.
“It’s always been a number, 100, where I’ve struggled once I’ve approached it, I have found it hard to go past it,” Moreira said. “That’s been the case for quite some time, whether at home, in Singapore or here. I really noted it five or six years ago in Singapore when Leticia Dragon, one of the trainers down there, made a comment about it. She’s absolutely right, too – I hit a flat spot.”
It has been a slower season for Moreira than when he reached his record marks of 145 (2014/15), 168 (2015/16) and 170 (2016/17) the last three years. Not that the three-time champion jockey is setting his sights that high, though, as he engages in a duel with his predecessor as champion, Zac Purton, for this year’s crown – Purton, winless tonight, remains on 93.
“It’s going to be a tight battle this season, so I’m just happy to have reached 100 wins,” he said. “Hopefully from now I can continue to build momentum, I’m going to need it.”
Divine Boy has proven an interesting exhibit of the Hong Kong handicap system at play. Considered a potential stakes-class sprinter early in his career, he even managed to finish seventh – four lengths from Chautauqua and ahead of horses like Aerovelocity, Mongolian Saturday, Thewizardofoz, Peniaphobia and Buffering – in the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m), two years and a day removed from his effort tonight.