HONG KONG • Accelerating a push for a fifth jockeys’ championship, Joao Moreira surged to a century of winners in a season for the seventh time with a double at Sha Tin yesterday.
The Brazilian they call the Magic Man crowned the triple-figure milestone by also wresting the lead in the race to the 2021/22 title from arch-rival Zac Purton.
Reaching three figures in a Hong Kong season has become almost a formality for Moreira since his arrival in 2013/14.
But his elation at reaching the mark for the seventh time in nine campaigns was evident after Running Glory landed the Class 3 Sha Lo Wan Handicap over 1,800m.
“It’s nice to hit that mark – fantastic,” said Moreira, four days after becoming only the third jockey in Hong Kong history to post 1,200 wins or more behind Douglas Whyte and Purton.
“I’m very proud, very pleased. There is no doubt I would not be getting there without all the support I’ve got and it’s a mark which, sooner than later, I want to leave far behind.”
Moreira’s brace pushes the 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2020/21 champion to a one-win margin (100-99) over Purton.
The Australian – the 2013/14, 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20 champion – closed the 61st of 88 meetings with victory on the John Size-trained Silver Express in the Class 2 Mui Wo Handicap over 1,400m. It was his 99th win this term.
Size’s double leaves the 11-time champion with a two-win buffer (63-61) over Frankie Lor in the trainers’ championship.
Moreira was delighted with Running Glory’s success.
“He’s such a genuine horse. He tries so hard. So, honestly, it’s not a surprise that he won today.
“He had a beautiful run through the race and he needed just a little bit of luck on him. I’m just the lucky boy to be steering him.”
Moreira reached 99 wins when trainer Caspar Fownes’ newcomer Wonderful Warrior took the Class 4 Siu Ho Wan Handicap over 1,000m.
His mount survived a late charge from Flying High in the opening event and then waited a further seven races to hit the magical 100.
Fownes is upbeat about Wonderful Warrior’s future.
“He’s a nice horse. If they can win their first start, they’re obviously a chance to get into Class 3 and be competitive,” said Fownes of the Rich Enuff gelding he bought on the recommendation of young Australian jockey Campbell Rawiller.
“I always thought he’d be a horse who could hit 80 points. Obviously, he’s a long way off that. But, hopefully, we can just get him there with each progression.” – HKJC