Horse Racing
Moreira shapes to start 2022 in style

By Leo Schlink
31/12/2021 13:00

Lucky With You scores under Karis Teetan.
Lucky With You scores under Karis Teetan.

Armed with an imposing full book of rides at the Lucky Start Raceday on Saturday (1 January) at Sha Tin, Joao Moreira is intent on building a decisive lead in the jockeys’ championship as he prepares to partner Excellent Proposal and Master Eight in the meeting’s G3 features.

Shading injured Zac Purton 51-49 in the championship race, Moreira will aim to add the G3 Chinese Club Challenge Cup Handicap (1400m) and the G3 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy Handicap (1000m), respectively, with John Size’s Excellent Proposal and Frankie Lor’s Master Eight.

In the saddle for each of Master Eight’s four successive victories, Moreira is confident the precocious sprinter can continue his winning spree in the HK$3.7 million contest.

“So far, he hasn’t done anything wrong and he’s proving to be a good horse. I just hope that he can keep repeating what he’s been doing – which is winning,” said the Brazilian, who was aboard the speedster during an emphatic triumph in a quality Class 2 contest over the 1000m course on 21 November.

“He didn’t begin very well. He can jump better than what he did last time. He was probably not sitting well in the gate, but he still managed to get himself with them.

“He was travelling very comfortably even though it was the first time he was running over the straight line. When I did ask him at the finish, he just ran away. I don’t think I see him doing anything differently from the past – he will just keep hitting the line very strongly.

“The horse is in great shape. His condition is very good. I really hope he can continue to hold that form and I believe he’s going to be very competitive.”

Master Eight surges past Nervous Witness.

Moreira renews his association with Excellent Proposal in the seven-runner Chinese Club Challenge Cup, hopeful the son of Exceed And Excel can reprise the form which allowed him to lift the Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m) under Blake Shinn last season.

Desperately unlucky two starts ago when second to stablemate Silver Express, Excellent Proposal finished 10th in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m) behind Golden Sixty on 12 December, beaten just under six lengths.

Fresh from a Sha Tin treble on Wednesday (29 December), Shinn has his own ambitions aboard David Hayes-trained Fantastic Treasure in the Class 2 Cherry Handicap (1400m).

“He’s an exciting prospect, this horse. He’s come through the ranks pretty quickly and as a young horse, he looks to be a Classic type of horse,” said Shinn, who takes over from Chad Schofield.

“I’m just rapt to be on him and hopefully he can bounce back from off a bit of a below par run (ninth to Lucky Express on 13 November), but there were excuses last time and everything seems to be in order for this run.

“He over-raced a little bit last time, so we’ve just worked on trying to get him to relax and hit the line. He did everything we asked in the Happy Valley trial (on 17 December) and he’s also done everything we’ve asked in trackwork, so we’re very happy with him.

“Everything he’s done, he’s done on natural ability, which is a very good sign. He’s just made lovely progression. I think he’s a potential top-liner. He’s got the ability to make his presence felt in the Hong Kong Four-Year-Old Classic Series.

“It’s unknown whether if he can run a mile, but everything he’s done suggests he should get to 1600.”

Excellent Proposal is among several of the ‘Magic Man’s’ choice rides.
Excellent Proposal is among several of the ‘Magic Man’s’ choice rides.
Foldable tote bag
Foldable tote bag

Karis Teetan is similarly upbeat over another Hayes runner - Lucky With You, who contests the Class 3 Chinese Banyan Handicap (1200m).

“He’s a very impressive horse and I was lucky enough to get the ride and we ended up winning the race (on 12 December). He gave me a good feel and I think he’s a smart little horse,” the Mauritian said.

“I’ve had a few gallops on him and the horse is improving. He’s always going to improve with racing so, going forward, everything is looking good.

“We’ve got a nice draw (barrier two), he’s got some nice speed. We’re going to make use of the draw, leave him where he’s comfortable with the speed he’s got and let’s hope he can just keep going again.

“It’s still early, but he gives a nice feel and I think he’s got a nice, little future.’

Saturday’s meeting at Sha Tin kicks off with the Class 5 Yew Handicap (1800m) at 12.30pm.

Racing fans attending either racecourse (Happy Valley or Sha Tin) this Saturday will each receive a foldable tote bag as a door gift, while stocks last.

There is also a HK$10.5 million top up for the Triple Trio jackpot, resulting in a possible estimated dividend for a single HK$10 winning unit reaching HK$18 million.