Joao Moreira confident Drops Of God can take next step
June 4, 2021, 7:41:18 AM
In a season highlighted by the emergence of exceptional new talent, Joao Moreira believes Drops Of God can continue his rise through the ranks by winning the Class 3 Lai On Handicap (1200m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (6 June).
Drops Of God, a two and a quarter length winner on debut on May 23, appears to be another magnificent sprinter from John Size's stable, which has previously delivered Courier Wonder and Fantastic Way this season.
Moreira, who leads Zac Purton in the jockeys' championship by 136 points, calls the Mossman gelding "another beautiful one, a really lovely one."
“He accomplished it in a nice way in his first run, and I couldn't ask for much better than that, he's such a professional horse,” the Brazilian remarked. “We're curious why John Size backs him up in two weeks - it suggests he believed the horse achieved what he needed to accomplish on his first try without overdoing it.
“He's another horse I believe people should keep an eye on since he appears to be pretty promising.”
Drops Of God clocked 1m 08.89s while weighing 127lb on debut and had a Class 4 1200m race at his mercy a long way away. On Sunday, he will leap from gate 10 with 117lb, while Purton will lug 133lb using Danny Shum's Winner Method.
“I'm happy to go back (from the barrier) if necessary,” Moreira remarked. “He appears to be a versatile sort of horse, and with such a little weight, I'm guessing he'll be able to touch the line really powerfully.
“It's a strong race, he's up in class, but I think he'll like the low weight on his back, and we're about to find out if he's up in class. I believe he is, and I'm looking forward to sitting on his back again this weekend.”
While Purton's chances of regaining the title with a fifth jockeys' title are dwindling with only 11 meetings remaining, the Australian is optimistic about Tourbillon Diamond's chances in the Class 2 Chung On Handicap (1600m).
“He doesn't necessarily have to lead; he's demonstrated his versatility. In a number of events, he has come from diverse positions in the field and ran as well. In that regard, he's simple to ride,” Purton said of the outstanding import who raced in Australia as Eric The Eel.
“I believe a mile is a decent distance for him, but that doesn't mean he can't run 1800 (metres) or 2000. (metres). His seventh-place finish in the Hong Kong Derby (from a terrible gate) was really impressive, in my opinion. He could have won the race if he had had a good draw there.”
Matthew Poon is looking to build on his late-season surge following a double at Happy Valley on Wednesday (2 June) when he teams up with Tony Cruz's Joyful Fortune in the Class 3 Kwong Tin Handicap (1000m).
“His form is strong and he's ready, so I hope he can perform like the trial (on May 25 at Sha Tin) - maybe he can travel comfortably and give me a nice finish,” Poon added, referring to the training cohort's overwhelming support.
“This season, I've had a lot of help from different trainers, and I'm really delighted to be able to receive a decent amount of rides, so thank you to the trainers and owners. I simply want to maintain receiving a fair amount of rides and perhaps win more races in the next meetings.”
Alfred Chan is hoping that Caspar Fownes' decision to seek weight relief on The Hulk in the Class 3 Lee On Handicap (1400m) will be crucial because to the apprentice's seven-pound claim.
Handicapped at 133lb, the Spirit Of Boom gelding is attempting a hat-trick of victories after winning his two previous efforts under Karis Teetan with 118lb and 125lb, respectively.
“His draw (gate one) will surely benefit him since we're hoping to position him right behind the pace or three back on the rail. It will make things much easier,” remarked Chan, who is having a great time studying from Fownes.
“Caspar has been incredibly helpful, and I'm delighted to keep working hard for him in the hopes of getting better results.”
Packing Award, according to David Hayes, is poised to make amends for several unlucky performances with a great showing in the Class 4 On Yam Handicap (1400m) for Purton.
“He's a young horse who has been running short of his distance, but he's begun to acclimate to Hong Kong and I'm fairly satisfied with him,” Hayes said, pointing to two minor placings from three 1200m starts.
“The runs were great, but the distances were too short, and he had poor luck twice. He should be able to get away from the wide gate this time (12). The bad news is that we have a horrible gate, but the good news is that we have a terrific jockey on board, so we'll leave it to Zac.
“The horse is now comfortable and will most likely settle in the middle of the field with cover.”
Because no one won the Triple Trio on May 30, a jackpot of more than HK$61 million will be carried forward to the pool for Sunday's Sha Tin day meeting. A single HK$10 winning unit is expected to pay up to HK$90 million, the biggest Triple Trio dividend since the 2012/13 racing season.