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Asian Racing Review: Joao Moreira’s Randwick redemption?

Michael Cox and Andrew Le Jeune break down last weekend's monster Dubai World Cup meeting and look ahead to Day One of the Championships at Randwick, where Joao Moreira makes his long-awaited Sydney Group 1 return.

Joao Moreira will have a point to prove when he heads to Sydney for a riding stint that includes a return to Randwick and the scene of a couple of the most disappointing days of the champion’s career. 

On this week’s Asian Racing Review, Asian Racing Report Editor Michael Cox said that Moreira’s return to what is likely to be a rain-affected track at Randwick brought to mind the Brazilian’s horror stretch at the track from 2014 to 2018. 

“Joao heads back to Sydney, a place where he’s been pretty heavily criticised in the past,” Cox said, pointing to a day when Moreira was the last rider to be beaten on Winx in the midst of a 56-ride run-of-outs. Moreira has ridden five wins from 69 rides at Randwick at 7.1 per cent. 

“He goes back and he finds a wet track as well, it’s a slow six rated today and more rain to come during the week, and that is what has found him out in the past,” Cox continued, comparing the Brazilian’s book of rides to those of his long-time Hong Kong rival Zac Purton.

The two champion riders – who have won the last nine Hong Kong Jockey Club championships between them – are on the top two in betting for the Doncaster Handicap. 


Joao Moreira will partner Fangirl in the Doncaster Mile. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Moreira will need to overcome a wide barrier on Fangirl and Purton takes the reins on Mr Brightside. 

“Zac certainly had the better of the rides overall,” Cox said. “He is on the favourite, Giga Kick, in the TJ Smith and Joao is on some outsiders, (which) maybe takes the pressure off Joao.

“It doesn’t seem that long ago, but it was 2015 that he didn’t ride his best on a wet day in Sydney, he copped a lot of criticism and was on a lot of favourites including one, Winx … and that was the last time anyone was defeated on her, in the Australian Oaks.”

Moreira will get a chance to find some rhythm before Saturday’s Day One of The Championships when he rides at a quiet midweek meeting at Warwick Farm today. 

“What might be different for Joao this time he gets a better look at the track, he was turning up on race day before, maybe he didn’t think he needed to do the type of homework required to know where he needs to be on these types of tracks,” Cox said. 

Also in this week’s Asian Racing Review:

Equinox imperious in Dubai (0:00); Dettori’s last dance (4:07); Championships Day One: Zac versus Joao (5:20); Moreira ‘frustrated’ as Hong Kong local media continue to cast doubt on hip injury (8:02); Off to stud at three? Not in Japan (12:59); Jerry Chau’s Dubai experience (14:20).




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