MOREIRA HOPING EXCITING WAIKUKU CAN ENHANCE HIS DERBY CLAIMS
John Size’s pair line up in the Lion City Handicap over 1m (live on Sky Sports Racing at 9.10) in a race which has fallen to subsequent Derby victors Collection and Akeed Mofeed in the last decade.
Joao Moreira is seeking a fourth win on the exciting Waikuku but the Harbour Watch gelding carries top weight and is drawn wide in stall 12 for his first race beyond seven furlongs.
“If we think he’s a potential Derby winner, we’ve got to believe he’s capable of facing these tough situations and overcoming them. I have a lot of faith in him and hopefully we’re not wrong about him,” Moreira said.
After going down by a nose on his debut, Waikuku has improved through three handicap wins. Last time out, the former John Oxx galloper endured a tough run yet still overcame talented five-year-old Good Standing by a head.
Waikuku excites again as a serious BMW Hong Kong Derby candidate for Joao Moreira and John Size: impressive the way he battled against a talented older opponent after racing 3-wide the trip. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/nCDC933nzl
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) February 17, 2019
“His last run, he had to do it tough because he was not able to slot in and get cover and he did beat a very strong horse, in my opinion,” Moreira said.
“He’s done a very good job so far. I’m not disappointed with any of his performances - every time he’s gone out there he’s done his very best.
“This time, the gate is not helping us very much. It’s another thing to add to the challenge for him, but what he’s done so far he gives us the confidence that he can cope with tough situations and if things go his way he’s capable of overcoming it again.”
BATTLING CALLAN THRILLED TO GET ENRICHMENT CALL
Moreira has partnered Enrichment of late, including for his latest victory over 10f, but Neil Callan is thrilled that champion trainer Size has called him up for a race worth almost £200,000.
“Most people would want to pay John to ride his horses rather than him pay you!” Callan said of the surprise booking.
“When he asks you to ride one you try your best to accommodate him because he’s got a pretty big record here and his horses are jumping out of their skin at the moment. I only picked the ride up after entries.”
The Irishman has had to battle to reach 10 wins in what has been a tough season so far.
“For me, things have been going slowly but it’s Hong Kong, it is what it is and I’m just glad to be getting the opportunity.”
STUNNING’S STRONG TRIAL
Friday morning’s Sha Tin barrier trials saw two-time Grade 1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint hero Mr Stunning in action. Karis Teetan had a tight hold on the Frankie Lor-trained speedster down the home straight as the bay cruised past the post third in an extended 5f dirt heat.
“He’s been off for a month so it was an easy trial to get him going,” Teetan said. “He felt very healthy, he’s in good condition and he looks like he’s holding nice form. Once he gets a few horses around him he can relax and in the straight I just wanted to pull him out a little bit just to keep him calm. He was ready for me to ask him but we’ll save that for later on!”
STATE AND LEGEND STILL ON DUBAI TRAIL
Trainer Tony Millard is chasing a Dubai invitation for Elusive State and this season’s dirt track revelation had an easy time under Silvestre de Sousa as he warmed up for a Sha Tin engagement next weekend.
“I’m happy with him. The idea was to have a nice quiet trial, he’s spot on so it’s a case of keeping him in good health,” de Sousa said.
Caspar Fownes, meanwhile, confirmed that stable star Southern Legend is still on for a tilt at the Dubai Turf at the end of March. The gelding had been due to fly to the UAE on Thursday but that was shelved after connections decided to go straight to the World Cup fixture rather than also take in the Super Saturday meeting at Meydan on 9 March.
“We decided to go straight to the race at the World Cup meeting, fly him in for that one run like we did when he won in Singapore last year,” Fownes said.