Via David Morgan, Hong Kong Jockey Club
Joao Moreira lit up a cloud-blanketed Sha Tin this afternoon (Sunday, 6 October) with a dazzling treble that owed plenty to the fruits of a hitherto infrequent alliance with Richard Gibson.
Not to be outdone, trainer Paul O’Sullivan enjoyed his best start to a campaign in many a season as he bagged a three-timer of his own, taking his running tally to five wins.
It’s not too often that the names of Moreira and Gibson have appeared alongside each other in the race card. It’s rarer still for them to connect for a win: Colorado High’s success in the Class 4 Kennedy Town Handicap (1200m) was only the second ever, My Winner’s score one race later was the third.
Before today, Moreira had ridden just 40 times for the Englishman and their only previous victory together was way back in February 2015, when Sugar City won a Sha Tin Class 4 at odds of 1.9.
“I haven’t ridden a winner for Richard for a very long time and getting two for him today, I’m very pleased with that,” Moreira said after the mid-card brace.
“Richard’s a very professional guy and he knows what he’s doing. Unfortunately, I haven’t had many opportunities to ride for him in the past, but lately he’s been giving me some rides and they’ve been good ones.”
Gibson pointed out that it’s not easy to book the three-time champion.
“It’s rare that we can get our hands on Joao but it often pays dividends when we do,” he said.
Colorado High’s first career win in the Class 4 Kennedy Town Handicap (1200m) hinted at a decent future, given that it was the four-year-old’s fourth start.
“He won quite impressively and I wouldn’t be surprised if Richard stepped him up a bit further, he’s one of those up-and-coming horses,” Moreira said after nailing a length and a half win.
Moreira delivered a sweet ride on My Winner in the Class 4 Lung Fu Shan Handicap (1400m). The five-year-old, first-up for the term following a stable transfer, was dropped-in second last on the fence as the field of 14 rounded the top turn.
“From an awkward draw (13), to get in that winning position was an excellent effort from Joao,” Gibson acknowledged. “My gut feeling was that the horse had improved since we got him, more relaxed, and I think there’s more to come from the horse.”
My Winner responded to Moreira’s urgings and, as the gaps opened, the gelding kept on finding to run down the Zac Purton-ridden Sprint Forward for a half-length success.
“Amazing job by Richard,” the ‘Magic Man’ said. “He’s definitely improved this horse, whatever he’s done it’s paid off.”
Moreira completed the trio with a sweet ride on the Danny Shum-trained Good Runners Way in the Class 4 Mount Davis Handicap (1650m, all-weather).
“I’m lucky Joao rode the horse otherwise he wouldn’t have won. He’s always been an outstanding jockey, he and Zac Purton, they’re both outstanding,” Shum said.