Joao Moreira used this meeting 12 months ago to lay down a marker for the championship success that lay ahead with a sparkling six-timer and the Brazilian feels like another big haul is on the horizon as he builds into 2021-22.
Moreira has five victories from four meetings – not at all bad but below his lofty standards – and went winless on Wednesday night, but he expects his momentum to build in the back half of September.
“My rides coming up for the next couple of weeks are much better, I wasn’t lucky enough to get decent rides at Wednesday’s meeting but I’m quite happy with the quality of the rides coming up,” he said.
“It gives me a little bit more motivation and excitement and I’m looking forward to riding on the weekend.”
The eye-catching Drops Of God headlines Moreira’s chances at Sha Tin on Sunday, with the John Size-trained four-year-old resuming in the Class Three Chinese Recreation Club Challenge Cup (1,200m) after two wins from four starts in his debut campaign.
“He’s a good horse and I presume he’s going to come back and do good things. He’s got the ability to win again in the class, he’s not even carrying the top weight and I think that is going to help him a bit,” Moreira said.
Drops Of God has drawn the outside alley in an 11-horse field containing the likes of The Hulk, Copartner Ambition and Equaletta Blitz, who has his first start for Douglas Whyte after transferring from Jimmy Ting Koon-ho’s stable.
Joao Moreira sits quietly as Drops Of God salutes on debut in May.
Drops Of God’s two victories have come when dictating terms in the lead and Moreira looks likely to push forward from the wide gate on a galloper he is confident has the tools to continue his climb up the ratings.
“Certainly he’s going to be fresh and willing to give his best. His last win was very impressive and if he can repeat that performance he will be once again very hard to beat,” Moreira said. “We’re far off seeing his best.”
Moreira partners another progressive four-year-old in the Woodpecker Handicap (1,600m), with the Tony Millard-trained C P Brave looking to notch his first Hong Kong victory at start four after two near misses to conclude last season.
A two-time winner when under the tutelage of William Haggas in Britain, C P Brave has progressed from a rating of 76 to 81 without saluting in Hong Kong and will jump from gate one carrying just 116 pounds in his Class Two debut.
“Apparently he has had a really good preparation and he was a bit unlucky not to win a race last season. I’m very confident he will be winning a few races this season,” Moreira said of C P Brave, who was slow away on a couple of occasions last season and went back to last before powering home to win a recent trial.
Moreira also rides Leap Of Faith and Touch Faith for Size on a day the 11-time champion trainer looks poised to get off the mark for the season, while Fairy Floss, Glenealy Generals, Lucky Puzzle, Party Everyday, Beauty Spirit and Dragon Fortune round out the Brazilian’s book.