Oriental Watch 55th Anniversary Sha Tin Trophy - Gentlemen's Bow Tie Day – Oct 23 Sha Tin Racecourse Oriental Watch 55th Anniversary Sha Tin Trophy - Gentlemen's Bow Tie Day – Oct 23 Sha Tin Racecourse Oriental Watch 55th Anniversary Sha Tin Trophy - Gentlemen's Bow Tie Day – Oct 23 Sha Tin Racecourse Oriental Watch 55th Anniversary Sha Tin Trophy - Gentlemen's Bow Tie Day – Oct 23 Sha Tin Racecourse Oriental Watch 55th Anniversary Sha Tin Trophy - Gentlemen's Bow Tie Day – Oct 23 Sha Tin Racecourse

NEWS

Moreira hoping for Joy after tough Sha Tin Trophy decision

22/10/2016 12:01

by Andrew Hawkins

Sunday's (23 October) Group 2 Oriental Watch 55th Anniversary Sha Tin Trophy has forced Joao Moreira to make one of the biggest decisions of his Hong Kong career to date, but the reigning champion jockey believes that he has made the right call by sticking with Joyful Trinity for the 1600m Sha Tin feature.

  • Joyful Trinity wins the G3 Celebration Cup with Joao Moreira on board.
    Joyful Trinity wins the G3 Celebration Cup with Joao Moreira on board.

Moreira had the choice of rides between two John Moore trainees: Joyful Trinity (122lb), a last start winner of the G3 Celebration Cup (1400m), and impressive four-year-old Rapper Dragon (122lb), who stamped himself as a prime contender for next March’s G1 BMW Hong Kong Derby with four late-season wins, including the HKG3 Lion Rock Trophy (1600m) in May.

“It was a tough choice, obviously,” Moreira said on Thursday (20 October). “Rapper Dragon is surely one of the favourites for the Derby and he could be one of the best horses in Hong Kong by the end of the season, but Joyful Trinity is coming into this at his third run, he's fitter and you can never underestimate him.

“I'm very confident about Joyful Trinity for this race. He's doing everything right at the moment. He really should have won at his first start of the season, and he was very good in winning the Group 3 last time out. He’s the type of horse to be very excited about, for the last four months he’s indicated that he’s working his way to the top and he keeps climbing through the ranks.

“Of course, though, I will be keeping an eye on Rapper Dragon. I’m very excited about what he can do going forward. It’s just that, for this race, Joyful Trinity is the one I’m with. Hopefully he can continue his progression towards the Hong Kong Mile.”

With Moreira on Joyful Trinity, Zac Purton will take the ride on Rapper Dragon, who is headed towards December’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) before embarking on a classic campaign.

Joyful Trinity and Rapper Dragon are just two of five Moore runners in the Sha Tin Trophy, with the trainer also sending out Helene Paragon (131lb) with Chad Schofield to ride, Helene Happy Star (126lb) under Sam Clipperton, and the veteran of the quintet, Designs On Rome (133lb).

The last-named, the 2014 G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup winner, begins his path towards that same race once again here, with Karis Teetan hopping aboard, and the Mauritian rider believes that the six-year-old is entering this season as healthy as can be.

“I trialled him a few weeks ago and I was pretty happy with how he went,” Teetan said. “I've ridden him in two gallops since on the dirt and he is feeling fit and well. I said to Mr Moore, he’s an old little fella but he's back on track and looks ready to go again, especially given this is the first time in a while he’s returning sound and healthy.”

Teetan is expecting Designs On Rome to find his rivals too strong at a mile on Sunday, but he hopes that all signs are positive going forward.

“They will be a bit sharp for him I think, it’s not his distance,” he said. “There’s a new generation of horses coming through so he’s got to meet them now too. But he’s got the ability and if he shows up, they’ll know he’s there.

“I'd be happy if he’s hitting the line pretty strongly and is flying at them late, that to me would be a good run for him as he builds up to the races over longer distances.”

It was this day 12 months ago that Teetan was riding high, having steered Moore-trained Able Friend to a scintillating victory from last in the G2 Premier Bowl (1200m), and the 26-year-old looks back on the day fondly.

“It was such a great thrill last year,” he said. “It was definitely a highlight of my career and a good day to remember. It’s not often a horse can sprint like he did that day, he just went bang!”

“I don’t know if either Designs On Rome or my sprint ride this year, Dashing Fellow, can do that, but I'm grateful to Mr Moore for giving me these chances.”

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