Ruan Maia is a man with the weight of the world off his shoulders with the Brazilian saying he is riding with renewed confidence following his recent run of winners.
It was a sluggish start for the Singapore sensation, going a month in Hong Kong before landing his first winner, but he has quickly turned it around, landing four winners in the last five meetings.
All four of his winners have come on horses $9 or longer in the market, headlined by Wine And Wine’s victory at $26 at Happy Valley on Thursday night.
“I have been very happy lately, I have been trying to get support,” he said. “I feel so well at the moment, I am riding with much more confidence and I have got some winners to show for it.
“I have to keep working to do better. I came here very confident but after a few meetings I felt the pressure and the rides weren’t getting better so I was lacking some motivation.”
As one of the leading riders in Singapore and a two-time champion rider in Macau, Maia had become accustomed to a consistent winning feeling, but that all changed after making the move to Hong Kong.
While he is under no illusions as to the challenges that await him, he is beginning to find his winning grove again.
“In my head, I was looking forward to coming here and getting some winners,” he said. “Then when I got my first one, everything changed – I felt more relaxed and I had more confidence. My mind and everything has been working better since then.”
Fresh on the back of compatriot Vagner Borges’ victory in the Group Two Sprint Cup aboard 178-1 chance Amazing Star, Maia is hungry for big-race success of his own.
While he is yet to secure any Group One rides for Champions Day, Maia is happy to bide his time just like Borges did when it comes to building his support base.
“I felt very happy for him, after the winning post I went up to him and gave him a fist bump and said ‘well done bro’ because he was also just back from a suspension,” he said.
“Of course, when you see him do that, it gives you more confidence too it shows that it can be done. I am looking forward to getting on some better horses so I can do the same thing.”
The 32-year-old has eight rides on Sunday as he looks to cement himself in the Hong Kong jockeys’ ranks with the hope he can be relicensed for next season.
He will ride the consistent Racing Fighter in the Class Two Cheung Lin Shan Handicap (1,400m), who jumps from barrier two.
Maia also rides last-start winner Winwin Thirtythree for trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai in the Class Four Stanley Gap Handicap (1,400m).
The five-year-old was impressive in Class Five company last start, but will get his chance to strike up in grade after drawing barrier six.
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