Eye to the future as Moreira, Mo ride doubles

It may not have been the eight-timer that electrified Sha Tin last Sunday but Joao Moreira scored two wins that could have implications for next season and beyond at Sha Tin on Sunday.

Moreira maintained the unbeaten records of Chris So-trained Bravo Watchman (118lb) in the Class 3 Dendrobium Handicap (1000m) and John Size’s Nothingilikemore (129lb) in the Class 3 Geranium Handicap (1000m), with both three-year-olds looming as potential Four-Year-Old Classic Series horses in 2018.

John Size’s Nothingilikemore races away for a comfortable success under Joao Moreira to make it three wins from three starts, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club

Bravo Watchman had won with ease down the straight on debut, prompting So to suggest laughingly that he could be the next horse the handler travels overseas after taking Fabulous One to Dubai this year. However, he was forced to work harder for his win on Sunday, settling in behind the speed and under a ride from Moreira from the 600m. He prevailed by a head over straight-course specialist Ace King.

“I think he’s looking for 1200m now,” So said. “He’s just so green, he was fractious in the gates and then he was looking for something to take him into the race. He is such a big horse that in his trials, he looked uncomfortable turning, that’s why I kept him to the straight. But I now think that if he can learn to relax even more, the bend might be the key to him showing the acceleration we saw from him on debut. Who knows, he could even be a Classic Mile horse next year!”

Nothingilikemore had impressed with his versatility at his first two starts, coming from near the rear on debut before leading at fast sectionals at his second outing. Sunday saw him sit just behind an even tempo set by Clipperton on Mythical Emperor, eventually striding clear for a two-length success that will put him up into Class 2.

“It’s a big ask for him to keep going now, but I want to see how the horse is,” trainer Size said. “He’s clearly a very nice horse but there’s plenty of racing for him at four, five, six, and I don’t want to burn him as a three-year-old by taking on talented older horses too early. Let’s see how he pulls up, I have no firm plans as yet but he will be a nice horse for next season.”

Also riding a double was 10-pound claimer Dylan Mo, who trebled his total Hong Kong win tally from one to three with his two victories. He took the Class 4 Kalanchoe Handicap (1200m) on Shamal (123lb), leading all the way, before making all on G-One Lover (110lb) in the second section of the Class 4 Oncidium Handicap (1400m).

Hong Kong racing returns to Happy Valley on Wednesday night (15 March) for an eight-race card that begins at 7:15pm, while the next Sha Tin meeting will be the bumper BMW Hong Kong Derby card next Sunday (19 March).