Joao Moreira and What Else But You thrilled a huge crowd at Sha Tin this afternoon (Thursday, 7 February) with a smart victory in the festive feature, the Class 1 Chinese New Year Cup Handicap (1400m).
The Brazilian ace bagged a treble at Hong Kong’s holiday fixture, which yielded turnover of HK$1.755 billion, the second highest all-time for the day. And while the first of his trio, Full Of Beauty, is one who might make the Group-race grades in time, What Else But You is pretty much there.
“He’s classy, he’s quality: he’s been running close behind some very good horses and if he can go that extra step of improvement he’s going to be right there with them,” Moreira said after the Duporth six-year-old had drawn two lengths clear for a comfortable win.
What Else But You (131lb) – rated 106 ahead of this win – was thrown in the deep end for a tough first Pattern race experience in December’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile. But the John Size-trained gelding showed promise in G3 company last time out when a length and three-quarters behind high-class stablemate Conte.
“He’s a good horse,” Moreira said, “unfortunately he had some issues in the past that stopped his career from being even better. Hopefully now he’s fully recovered and able to do what he’s capable of.
“He felt great on the way to the gate and I thought if he brought his ‘A’ game he’d be hard to beat. The plan was to come on the outside and flash home but the way circumstances played out it looked like everyone else had the same idea; they popped out, the gap came through on the inside and I had to go for it and hope for the run. Once he got it he just ran away.”