Bidding to solidify his grasp on a fifth Hong Kong jockeys’ championship, Joao Moreira expects Galaxy Witness to outline already imposing credentials for next season’s Four-Year-Old Classic Series when the unbeaten youngster contests the Class 2 Mount Cameron Handicap (1600m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (12 June).
Moreira holds a 125-120 buffer over fellow four-time Hong Kong champion Zac Purton with 10 meetings left in the 2021/22 season and the Brazilian is confident Caspar Fownes-trained Galaxy Witness can deliver vital breathing space.
“When you have a horse that goes out there and wins all the time, you couldn’t be more excited, he is definitely a promising horse,” Moreira said before referencing a 1700m trial win at Happy Valley on 28 May.
“His trial there was outstanding. He has done very well, as we expected, and he has a little bit more experience now and he’s a horse I’m looking forward to ride at the weekend.”
Looking to next season’s Four-Year-Old Classic Series, which features the Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m), Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) and culminates in the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m), Moreira said: “What he has done so far, he’s been quite impressive.
“He would be one of the horses that we all should have in mind for the Classic Series next season and he deserves a chance.”
Moreira partners Bundle Of Charm in the Class 4 Shek Nga Shan Handicap (1200m), aiming to bolster John Size’s hopes of a record 12th trainers’ title.
“After having a run under his belt, I presume he’s going to do things better,” Moreira said of the All Too Hard gelding who successfully debuted over 1200m at Sha Tin on 22 May.
“He’s a horse who everyone should keep watching because he’s got a bright future here. It’s a bonus for John Size’s stable, who is running for the (trainers’) championship. Hopefully we are not wrong about this horse – I think there are more wins to come.”
Size currently trails Lor 81-78 and Lor – who worked for the Australian as an assistant trainer before being granted his own licence in 2017/18 – is hopeful Moreira can extract the best from former Australian galloper Keefy in the Class 3 Needle Hill Handicap (1400m).
“His two runs so far have been good, hopefully he keeps improving but the only thing is the draw (14), which is a bit tricky,” Lor said. “Joao knows the horse, so hopefully he can run a good race.”
Bracing for a furious Size onslaught over the next 10 meetings, Lor said: “We will both fight until the last day. I will try but I think everyone knows my old boss is a really strong trainer, so I need to be careful.”
David Hayes unveils Global Harmony in the Class 3 Mount Nicholson Handicap (1200m) in the programme finale on Sunday, with Zac Purton optimistic the last-start winner in Australia can impact quickly in new surroundings.
“He’s a tricky one because he hasn’t got the start right yet, he keeps missing the start and in Hong Kong – especially coming in on the rating (63) he’s on – you can’t really do much wrong. If he gets the start wrong, it’s going to be very hard for him,” Purton said.
“So, we’ve just got to hope that he can get it right and if he does – some of his trials have been okay – he should be able to run a decent race. He seems to have settled into the environment well enough, hopefully he can get the job done and start off on the right foot.”
Formerly known as Pagan when trained in Australia by Hayes’s sons Ben and JD Hayes, the Shamexpress gelding won a 1300m maiden at Sandown in December under Brett Prebble before being transferred to Hong Kong.
Sunday’s (12 June) card starts with the Tung Wan Shan Plate (1000m) for Griffins at 12.30pm (AEST 14:30).
– News from Hong Kong Jockey Club