Joao Moreira will side with Seasons Bloom (117lb) in Sunday’s (3 September) opening day feature, the Class 1 HKSAR Chief Executive’s Cup Handicap (1200m), and the champion jockey is looking for the talented galloper to produce a springboard performance.
Seasons Bloom’s efforts last term earned high rank among Hong Kong’s four-year-olds. Danny Shum’s charge nicked two wins on the bounce before making the frame behind Horse of the Year Rapper Dragon in both the Hong Kong Classic Mile and Hong Kong Classic Cup.
Moreira got his hands on the Captain Sonador gelding’s reins for the first time when Seasons Bloom closed out his debut Sha Tin campaign with a Class 2 score at a mile. That was back in June and the Brazilian was evidently impressed.
“I’m riding him on Sunday because I think he can be a serious horse in the big races this season, even though the distance this weekend looks sharp for him. Looking to the future, the mile races that are coming up, he’ll be a good ride to have,” Moreira said.
The three-time champion was not in the plate for Seasons Bloom’s eye-catching barrier trial last Saturday – Nash Rawiller was up top – but, after reviewing the video, he is pleased with what he saw. The five-year-old closed off strongly in the 1000m turf heat, passing the post two lengths third behind Sunday’s rival, the top-weighted Blizzard (133lb).
“I think he trialled well enough to show that he’s going into this race with a chance,” Moreira observed. “It’s a tough race, he’s against horses that are specialists at the distance and he’s not, but he’s going well enough. I galloped him (Thursday) and he felt good.”
Seasons Bloom has scored once at the distance from two attempts, that win coming in a soft ground maiden at Pakenham in April, 2016. The Australian import’s one course and distance attempt was on Hong Kong debut last November when a sound eighth behind Western Express in Class 3. The smart miler’s lack of toe could be an issue this time, with the Chris So-trained Fabulous One (117lb) and the Me Tsui-trained Shamal (113lb) both keen on-pace gallopers, but, with only seven runners in the field, Moreira does not envisage too many issues arising from a gate four break.
“I don’t see any problems for him in the run, he’s drawn four and I think he’s going to get back anyway. I expect him to be running home, and, if they go fast enough, he may be the one to come and surprise the speed horses,” the rider said.
– News from Hong Kong Jockey Club