Moreira confident Puente can be a player again
Ireland's latest successful import to HK takes his latest step on the 2020 Derby trail in the Maurice Handicap at Happy Valley this Wednesday with Joao Moreira saying "I think he's as good as he looks."
Straightforward but impressive. @BMW Hong Kong Derby aspirant Playa Del Puente breaks through for his first Hong Kong win under Joao Moreira. 🇭🇰 👏 #HappyWednesday #HKracing pic.twitter.com/88Ts7k34T8
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) October 23, 2019
Former Michael Halford galloper Playa Del Puente certainly looked good on his latest start, making the most of a soft lead to bound clear over course and distance, and Moreira is confident he has progressed again since.
"The other day I galloped him on the grass track and he seems much more mature. He's coping and learning quicker than I thought he would, to be honest, and that is a very good sign."
Upbeat Moore double handed in Valley feature
Frankie Lor dominated last year's Derby trail, winning all three legs of the Classic series, and Aussie G1 winner Extra Brut has Zac Purton aboard as he makes his HK debut.
Lor feels the four-year-old has "looked really good in the morning" but very few horses make a winning HK debut from a mark of 93, especially at the Valley, and John Moore may well provide more potent threats to Playa Del Puente with the freewheeling Buddies and bang-in-form Happy Dragon.
Buddies has thrived from the front on the dirt at Sha Tin and Moore feels "Happy Valley will be ideal for him," while Happy Dragon played second fiddle to Playa Del Puente three weeks ago but now has a 9lb pull in a race with a very different tactical shape.
"Buddies can go very good sectionals so they'll have to run him down and I think he's a live chance," added Moore.
"Happy Dragon is in very good form. He might have started to reach his maximum rating but from that gate (2) on the C track you've got to give him a chance, too."
Records tumbling on Sha Tin speedway
Moore is building towards a highly significant Sunday fixture at Sha Tin with stable star Beauty Generation bidding to make amends for his first defeat in eighteen months when he lines up for the Jockey Club Mile.
However, the veteran handler is also looking forward to seeing his up-and-coming sprinter Aethero square off against HK's best 1200m horses in the Jockey Club Sprint and is expecting fireworks on a track which has produced a spate of track records recently.
A dash of history!
Aethero dips inside the great Sacred Kingdom's course record set in 2007 (54.70s), scorching the track in 54.69s for John Moore and Joao Moreira. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/XjqELuA0eq
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) October 12, 2019