Horse Racing
Winning, Happiness and Applause as Moreira makes 800 in record time

By David Morgan
16/06/2019 18:42

Joao Moreira reaches 800 Hong Kong wins on Such A Happiness
Joao Moreira reaches 800 Hong Kong wins on Such A Happiness

Joao Moreira pocketed a treble and hit a milestone figure at Sha Tin this afternoon (Sunday 16 June), notching his 800th Hong Kong career win aboard Class 4 galloper Such A Happiness.

“It’s a nice round number but I don’t want to get stuck there, I want to be moving forward!” he said before admitting, “I wasn’t even thinking about it. I honestly thought I’d reached it before but it’s come along just a couple of race meetings after that.”

Moreira is the fifth jockey to achieve 800, following Tony Cruz, Douglas Whyte, Brett Prebble and Zac Purton. He reached the mark in record time, on his 3,563rd race ride, seven meetings from the end of his sixth Hong Kong season: As a rough comparison, his number one rival, Purton – who hit 1000 Hong Kong wins last weekend – reached 800 wins in the April of his 11th season.

The Brazilian ace moved on to 84 wins for the term, a fine return given that the season was three months old when he returned from Japan to take up the role of John Size’s stable jockey.

Such A Happiness was Moreira’s second win on today’s 11-race card. Benno Yung’s charge took the Class 4 Graham Handicap (1000m) by a length.

“He got gate one and he had a beautiful run through; he was behind the speed, got a lovely gap to go through and he dashed home to catch the leader,” the three-time champion jockey said.

Winning Method wins easily under Moreira
Winning Method wins easily under Moreira

Moreira took the opener, the Chancery Plate (1000m) for Griffins, on a horse seemingly destined to rise to a decent perch. Winning Method was beaten on debut behind the highly-touted Aethero but has now put two easy wins together and today strolled to a four and a half-length success at odds of 1.0.

“I was quite worried at about halfway because the pace was on a bit and I had to niggle at him to stay in touch. But once I gave him a tap on the shoulder he just ran past them, so that says he’s got ability,” the rider said.

“He was in great form and he’s shown he has more maturity than before. He raced more kindly in the race – he didn’t jump and run on the bridle like a lion. This time he was a bit more cautious in what he was doing and that’s why he was able to run away from them. I’m pleased with what he’s done today.”

Trainer Danny Shum intimated that the talented two-year-old will be gelded before returning next season.

Beauty Applause shines for Moreira
Beauty Applause shines for Moreira

Moreira made it three wins when the Size-trained Beauty Applause showed again that while he might look like a fairground carousel horse, he can gallop like a useful athlete. The chestnut with four white socks, a face to match, and flaxen mane and tail, took his career record to two wins from four starts.

The three-year-old defied top-weight, making all and striding on to a length and three-quarter win in the Class 4 Lyndhurst Handicap (1200m).

After providing Moreira with his 800th, Yung landed a treble of his own. The trainer’s Ka Ying Master took the Class 4 D’Aguilar Handicap (1000m) under Keith Yeung. And the same rider was in the plate when Not Usual Talent tore down the home straight for a cosy win in the concluding Class 2 Staunton Handicap (1600m).

Sanna’s Treasure

Alberto Sanna drives Great Treasure to success
Alberto Sanna drives Great Treasure to success

Alberto Sanna has had a torrid season with two bad injuries curtailing his opportunities. The Italian was sidelined for eight weeks with a shattered hip and then, three months after returning from that set-back, endured five weeks out with a broken ankle.

“It was tough this last time because it was my second injury and I missed nine winners – horses that were confirmed, on my book. But this sort of thing doesn’t destroy me, it makes me stronger. And I’ll be back stronger next season,” he said after guiding Great Treasure to a 36/1 success in the Class 4 On Lan Handicap (1400m).

“I love this horse, he gave me my first win this year and hopefully this one is not my last this year!” he smiled. “It’s good to have a win at my third meeting back and it’s the second time that Me Tsui has supported me with a winner shortly after coming back.”

Great Treasure overcame gate 13 and rattled down centre-track for a last-to-first victory, Sanna’s sixth of the campaign.

“I rode the horse by feeling. I know him and I knew the pace was on so I waited carefully behind,” Sanna said.

Matthew Poon roared to a 2,350/1 double. The jockey notched only his second win in the past two months in taking the afternoon’s trophy race, the Class 3 Sports Club Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup Handicap (1200m), driving the 61/1 Shum-trained Reel Bizzy (119lb) to a head success over race leader Sunny Boy (133lb).

Poon followed up on 37/1 chance Vigor Fame in the next, the Class 3 Shelley Handicap (1800m), for trainer Francis Lui.

Good Beauty wins under Aldo Domeyer

Aldo Domeyer has enjoyed a solid start to his Hong Kong career and made an important ally when claiming his seventh win. The South African had never ridden for trainer John Moore before but, handed the chance on Good Beauty, he grasped it in some style.

Domeyer scraped paint three back in the Class 3 Old Bailey Handicap (1400m) but shifted out upon straightening: Faced with a wall of horses, the rider darted his mount back to the inside after the 200m point and the four-year-old spurted home to score by a head.

Purton took his season’s haul to 148 when the Ricky Yiu-trained Indigenous Star landed race two, the Class 5 Cochrane Handicap (1600m).

Derek Leung teamed up with Lakeshore Eagle (115lb) for a last stride win in the Class 3 Wyndham Handicap (1200m), edging out the Moreira-ridden Aerohappiness (125lb). Winner and second were together at the tail turning in, but while Aerohappiness had to take the wide route, the Chris So-trained victor cannoned down the inside rail to take the spoils.

Hong Kong racing continues back at Sha Tin on Sunday, 23 June.