Joao Moreira will not be around to capitalise on Mission Tycoon’s long-term potential but the outgoing ace is banking on the promising three-year-old delivering a timely victory in Sunday’s (1 July) Class 2 Hong Kong Reunification Cup Handicap (1200m).
Moreira trails Zac Purton by four wins in an enthralling battle to be this season’s Hong Kong Champion Jockey. With only five meetings remaining before the campaign closes on 15 July, the Brazilian has turned to a proven source of wins in his attempt to land the day’s feature event.
Mission Tycoon (122lb) already numbers as one of 12 victories the defending champion has notched from 46 rides for the Frankie Lor stable this term. Last time out, on 3 June, horse and rider placed second to Jumbo Luck in a hot Class 2 at the course and distance.
“He should have won the race,” the three-time champion said. “I was a bit unlucky because I got held up behind another horse and he flashed home to nearly get there. He’s facing the same kind of competition and I think if he delivers the same kind of form as his last three starts he’s a winning chance.”
The field of 14 contains a rival he knows only too well. The John Size-trained Raging Storm (121lb), another three-year-old with potential, is a horse that Moreira has partnered in each of his five starts this term for a three-win return – Chad Schofield will take the reins.
“I’ve been riding Raging Storm, a horse coming up in class and he’s a horse I respect very much but I had to choose one and I was pretty much already booked to ride Mission Tycoon. Honestly, it could go either way,” said Moreira, who will depart Hong Kong at the end of this term.