Commanding a virtually unassailable lead in the jockeys’ championship, Joao Moreira is confident Master Eight can confirm his status as one of Hong Kong’s brightest prospects with victory in the Class 3 Hap Mun Bay Handicap (1200m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (13 June).
Leading Zac Purton 138 to 117 in quest of a fourth Hong Kong title, Moreira believes only unbeaten Courier Wonder is superior to Master Eight among the three-year-olds the Brazilian has handled this season.
“If he’s not at the top, he would be sitting second. It’s just a matter of time and if he gives a little bit more he might be as good as the one that I would put at the top,” Moreira said of Frankie Lor’s charge, a striking three and a quarter length victor on debut on 16 May.
“He did what we were expecting. He was very straightforward, as he was at his trials this preparation, and he surprised me in the way that he hits the line – he was very strong and that gives us a lot of excitement about this bloke.
“When I asked him to come back a little bit he responded like a professional horse. He’s the type of horse that is going to make the trainer’s and jockey’s life easier.”
Rising in grade from Class 4, Master Eight impressed Moreira with his trackwork enthusiasm on Monday (7 June).
“I was asked not to go too fast on him, but he was feeling so well in himself that we ended up going a little bit faster than what the trainer wanted but he pulled up very well after the gallop and I’m sure he’s going to bring his best to the races,” Moreira said before succinctly quantifying his confidence levels as “very high.”