Caspar Fownes: Hugh Bowman gets Senor Toba recall after Moreira mix-up

Media reported that Joao Moreira would team-up with Senor Toba for the grey's upcoming Qatar assignment, but 'The Magic Man' is committed to ride in Tokyo that weekend.

Senor Toba and Hugh Bowman combine to win Sunday's G3 Centenary Vase at Sha Tin. (Photo by HKJC)

Michael Cox



A misunderstanding and geographical mix-up between Caspar Fownes and jockey Joao Moreira means Hugh Bowman has been given a recall to ride Senor Toba in the upcoming G1 H.H. The Amir Trophy in Qatar on February 18.

After Senor Toba combined with Bowman to win the G3 Centenary Vase at Sha Tin on Sunday, Fownes told press he had booked Moreira to ride the grey in the 2400m race at Al Rayyan. 

The race is a night before Moreira has been booked to ride Shirl’s Speight in the G1 February Stakes in Tokyo and the Brazilian is likely to ride at Tokyo the day before as well, leaving Fownes with a new jockey to find for his middle eastern foray. 

“I think Joao got Saudi Arabia mixed up with Doha (Qatar),” Fownes told Asian Racing Report. “Joao thought we were heading to Saudi a week later, so I will call Hugh up and see if he can make it to Qatar for the ride.” 

Perhaps Moreira can be excused given how crowded his calendar is looking. His planned global farewell tour is taking shape: after riding in the February Stakes, he will compete in the Saudi International Jockeys Challenge and then ride Cafe Pharoah in the US$20m Saudi Cup. 

Moreira has also been in contact with Australian owners and trainers about a possible stint in Sydney during the lucrative autumn races. 

Then there is Dubai World Cup night on March 25, where some Japanese and Hong Kong contenders could attract Moreira’s services.

The Brazilian has been riding well in his homeland since announcing his ‘retirement’ from the Hong Kong circuit due to ongoing hip problems. He rode another two wins on Saturday took his total to 21 wins from the last ten meetings. 


Joao Moreira and Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges at the HKIR. (Photo by Lo Chun Kit/Getty Images)

For Fownes, Qatar loomed as an ideal target for a stayer starved of options at home. 

“It is a great option for him,” Fownes said. “When they upped the prizemoney to US$2.5m it really caught my eye and we have got to go and have a go. 

“I really liked the performance at Sha Tin on Sunday, at that distance and handicap conditions it was a big effort. They ran good, solid sectionals, his best work was right on the line. He was just starting to do his best work on the line and it is nice to take a horse away while he is in good form.” 

Douglas Whyte also confirmed his star stayer Russian Emperor would head to Qatar. Should the Hong Kong horses run well, the race could prove a stepping stone to the US$6m Sheema Classic in Dubai a month later. 

Fownes also has his sprinter Sky Field aimed at the US$1.5m Al Quoz Sprint on Meydan’s 1200m straight course on Dubai World Cup night, a race which could see fellow Hong Kong sprinters Sight Success and Super Wealthy engaged. 

All three ran in Sunday’s G1 Centenary Sprint Cup at Sha Tin and Fownes was pleased at the way Sky Field finished off for fifth. 

“I was just looking at the sectionals and he has run the fastest final splits, from the 800m, 600m and by far the best final 400m,” Fownes said. “I really think the straight 1200m there at Meydan will suit him.” 




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