Computer Patch’s time to match it with the best is now according to jockey Joao Moreira, who is looking to continue his unbeaten record on the horse.
The four-year-old impressed as a three-year-old last season, winning three times – twice in Class Two – and boasted a rating of 99 at season’s end.
Touted as one of Hong Kong’s emerging sprinters, expectations were high for Computer Patch, who made his way to the Tony Cruz stable after the forced retirement of John Moore.
Resuming under jockey Karis Teetan on opening day, Computer Patch ran a respectable fourth behind Perfect Match but Moreira is looking to steer him to victory back down in trip in the Group Three National Day Cup (1,000m).
While Moreira only has six rivals in the race, it is not short on quality with the likes of Wishful Thinker, Big Party, Jolly Banner and Gold Chest all performing at a high level recently.
“He has got to match the big guys, I think he is an up-and-coming horse. At the end of last season he was running against some really decent horses and he was able to win,” Moreira said. “I actually have good faith in him going into the race.”
After fading at the back end of last season’s jockeys’ title race, Moreira is enjoying life at the top again this term but knows it is only a matter of time before he is challenged by the likes of Zac Purton and Teetan once more.
“It is all about the support, I have had support from good trainers who are winning races,” he said. “It is only the start of the season, the hardest part is to stay there.
“I am not just expecting it to happen, I am going to be working very hard and hopefully when it comes to the end of the season and I can look back, I will be proud of myself.”
Frenchman Alexis Badel is also looking to rekindle his winning relationship with trainer Richard Gibson when he rides Gold Chest on Thursday.
Bought as a Derby horse, Gibson has transformed Gold Chest into a high-class speedster who looks at home over the shorter trips.
After winning in Class Two over 1,000m earlier in the season with 128 pounds on his back, Gold Chest will enjoy the 114-pound feather weight he has been allotted in Thursday’s contest.
The race proved to be an embarrassment of riches for Badel, who revealed he was also offered the ride on Victoriam at the bottom weight.
“I could have ridden Victoriam in the sprint but I had already committed to Gold Chest,” he said. “It is a big advantage that I get to ride very light and still be in good form. I am still looking for more rides in the Group races coming up in October.”
Badel enjoyed success with Gibson two seasons ago with Wishful Thinker, who they were able to move through the grades before running in the Group One Al Quoz Sprint (1,200m) in Dubai on World Cup night.