Singapore champion jockey Joao Moreira could not have hoped for a better send-off ahead of his pitstop visit to Sweden than a winning treble at Friday night’s Polytrack meeting.
After kicking off the evening with a hard-fought win aboard $15 favourite Kamar Dancer in the first race, the $35,000 Class 5 Division 1 race over 1600m, the Brazilian ace had to wait for his last two rides (Run For The Hills was scratched in the last race), $20 second-favourite Steadfast Warrior, in the $75,000 Class 3 race over 1700m (Race 7) and $12 favourite Get It in the $35,000 Class 5 Division 2 race over 1600m (Race 8) to end the night with a bang.
While the treble brought his already massive tally up to 134 winners to widen even further the unassailable lead on Australian jockeys Danny Beasley and Stephen Baster, both on 44 winners, Moreira saw the good haul more as the perfect boost towards his first riding foray in Sweden on Sunday.
Steadfast Warrior bursts through late under Joao Moreira to win Race 7 on Friday night
The two-time Singapore champion jockey, who headed straight to the airport after Race 8 to catch a Sweden-bound flight, was booked by prominent Swedish horse owner Mr Stefan Friborg for two rides – Energia Eroi in the Swedish Derby and Valde Mar in the Zawawi Cup – at the Jagersro racecourse in Malmo, Sweden’s second-biggest city after Stockholm, on Sunday.
Friborg, who was instrumental to bringing Moreira to France as his retained jockey seven years ago, is the owner of 2009 Singapore Airlines International Cup winner Gloria De Campeao.
“This treble will definitely give me more confidence,” said Moreira. “I will try my best to bring at least one winner in Sweden.”
While Get It’s 3 ¼-length romp was probably the easiest of the three wins, Moreira had to use all of his savoir-faire aboard the other two.
After travelling in a cosy position on the fence, Kamar Dancer suddenly ran into dead ends at the top of the straight forcing Moreira to switch him across heels of four runners in search of daylight. My New Boss, ridden by his compatriot Ivaldo Santana, looked beyond reach, but Moreira never gave up with the end-result being a last-gasp head-win.
Aboard Steadfast Warrior, Moreira elected to settle in second-last spot before taking closer order along the rails to loom up as a big threat upon straightening.
Iluminado (Matthew Kellady) was being hailed the winner but he could not quite sustain his run to the line as the swoopers descended on him, and it was Steadfast Warrior who proved the best finisher to score by half-a-length from Wonder (Zuriman Zulkifli). John Of Arch (Greg Cheyne) finished third another head away. The winning time was 1min 46.28secs.
Moreira said Steadfast Warrior was a lovely horse “who does everything by himself” and “always gives 100%”.
“I was happy where I was. He just got back by himself as this is his usual racing pattern,” said Moreira.
“The pace was just nice for him as they were going fast enough in front. I only started working on him from the 700m and he immediately cruised up so nicely to the leaders.
“I still had two horses that I considered my biggest hurdles to beat, Forgiven on my outside, and Vaya Condios, but he’s such a genuine horse and he did a good job to beat both quite easily.”
Brown was also delighted with the result as Steadfast Warrior was his only runner for the night following the scratching of Run For The Hills in the last race.
“He’s a great horse to train. He deserves everything he gets,” said the Australian handler.
“If you had a stable full of them, you’d be laughing.”