MAGIC MOSSE, MAGIC MIRCO AND, MAGIC MOREIRA AND THE UNITED NATIONS OF HORSE RACING
There was magic in the air on Sunday at Shatin when SaSa Ladies Purse Day seemed to fall under the spell of Mandrake The Magician and Kriss Angel.
The day started out looking like being another master class for the Brazilian Magic Man Joao Moreira, who started the $1.40 favourite to take out the Jockey Challenge. But, as we all know, there are no sure things in racing, and the HKJC pulled a few rabbits of its own out of its hat showing the depth of the riding talent in Hong Kong.
With Zac Purton, Douglas Whyte and Nash Rawiller sidelined through suspensions, the expected Joao Moreira samba la bamba party was gate crashed by Italian Mirco Demuro and Frenchman Gerald Mosse.
If anyone was thinking that age has dulled Monsieur Mosse, or that his focus was on becoming a trainer, the great jockey showed, that like a good wine, he has actually improved with age to be a vintage bottle of Chateau Red Cadeaux. And those who know Gerald Mosse smile knowing all-too-well that here is a world class jockey who has been a world class jockey for decades and remains a down-to-earth gentleman off the track and a focused professional on race day.
Over the past few seasons, Mosse has often appeared more interested in playing cherchez la femme than riding what he has famously described as Class 4 and 5 “goats and donkeys”. But this season, after riding Group 1 horses in Europe, the great French swordsman has returned with a different outlook on life- and vive le difference- as, despite an aversion to take any rails runs, his preference to have his horses three and four wide is working for him- something proven with his treble on Sunday.
Between Mosse and Mirco Demuro, they combined to ride six of the ten winners on the card, and with the recent treble by Matthew Chadwick, and five-timer by Zac Purton, it shows that no one jockey is holding all the cards in Hong Kong like “back in the day”.
It all adds to great racing and a huge boost in interest to the Jockey Challenge which, early this season, looked like being benefit race meetings for Joao Moreira.
Though the Magic Man remains a wonderful rider to watch- win, lose or draw- what we have is a very level playing field and competitive racing at its brilliant best.
Those days when Ivan Allen and Basil Marcus and David Hayes and Basil Marcus ruled the roost followed by the Size-Whyte years are long gone. What looked like the start of a Size-Moreira era has also been nipped in the bud.
No individual or individuals are bigger than an industry, and some better heed this advice before the bottom falls from under them.
When this season’s current “new boy” Mirco Demuro, who had made a strong impact during his short stint last season, rode his own brilliant treble on Sunday, it added to what is great racing theatre.
Demuro’s ride on Packing Llaregyb was superb, and this galloper could well be trainer Andreas Schutz’s new Good Ba Ba- and another young horse with the potential to be an International Group winning Hong Kong-owned horse along with two other Sunday winners in Star Mark and Beauty Only with second placed Willie Cazals showing all the promise to be a very good staying prospect.
With all the back stories of jockeys needing to compete for rides, every rider wanting to be on those horses with Group 1 potential stamped all over them, some trainers rapidly losing their past glory days and every jockey having to raise their game as two other new boys soon come into town and into play- the popular Umberto Rispoli, the paramour of Mosse’s daughter Kimberley, and Andre Atzeni, who recently became the number one jockey for the powerful Qatari Racing group in Europe- one can’t help but sit back and think that what we have here really is The United Nations Of Racing- Australians, Italians, a Frenchman, a South African, an Irishman, a Brazilian, a Mauritian, a Belgian and the local boys. It’s a marketing dream with a strong USP.
This United Nations Of Racing is another brand as strong as the HKJC’s Happy Wednesday model that can be so easily fine-tuned and marketed to attract new sponsors, new fans to the sport, and very much be part of re-enforcing the international image of Mainland China’s favourite spoilt child named Hong Kong.
Yes, International Week is fast-approaching when The Greatest Show On Turf will welcome the racing world.
Let’s, not forget, however, that Hong Kong has International racing every race meeting with the jockeys on show, each with different riding styles, different ages, and all realising that no one is indispensable in a city that offers a superb lifestyle, tax breaks along with rock star adulation and the perks that go with it- something certainly not enjoyed by those in other racing jurisdictions.
It’s a privilege to be licensed to ride and train and be part of racing in Hong Kong, and despite the occasional moaning and drone attacks, those in the game here must get on their knees when at home and thank their lucky stars for the opportunities they have been handed on a silver platter. With a cherry on top.
THE BEAUTY OF HORSE POWER
FROM THE HAPPY WEDNESDAY TWITTERVERSE
THE FAST TRACKER RIDES INTO HAPPY VALLEY
This really looks like being a race in two- Mister Marc and Smart Guy with the latter to win for Moreira.
Let’s go French here with a quinella comprising les garçons Mosse and Delouze.
The first leg of the Six Up where there are always surprises so tread warily and wearily and don’t waste too much money. Remember, you don’t have much.
The HKJC Racing Club Syndicate has their Young Talent going around again, and despite a close third at its last start, I don’t really think there’s much young talent here. It’s a kinda weird horse that sucks you in, only to spit you out.
Sure, it can run a place, but I’ll be taking Mazandaran as the banker. The Tony Cruz-trained galloper is drawn the rails, has the very much recharged Matty Chadwick aboard who rode a treble at the last Valley meeting, and going on its last run looks the one to beat.
It’s been a strangely subdued season for young Karis Teetan and, hopefully, Plain Blue Banner can break his drought. David Ferraris has his horses going well and this is an extremely good lightweight hope.
There should be value in the last leg of the Triple Trio and two at the bottom of the weights jump out- Verdane and Riyadh with the two at the top of the weights- Regency King and Ka Ying Kid- being place hopes. Box these together and you might snag the quinella at least, and perhaps even the tierce. Good Choice with Moreira riding for Sean Wood will be favourite, but backing Woodsy’s horses is often voodoo magic.
Owner Tung Moon-fai has two sets of bling running here- Classic Jewellery and Turbo Jewellery- both once with John Size, but the former now with David Hall, and have place claims at best.
A tough one to figure out as there are four first starters including one from the John Moore yard- Adapto- with Moreira aboard and drawn barrier two in this 1000 metre sprint.
The money will probably be on topweight Lovely Boy, which will be going for its third successive win this season for The King Of The Valley in trainer Caspar Fownes, also a lovely boy, but, these days, I tend to shy away from lovely boys ‘cos looks can be deceiving.
Despite drawn barrier 10 in this 1200 meter race, I will go for Gentilis with Moreira riding for Dennis Yip or Apollo Cavalier with Brett Prebble taking over from Howard Cheng who’s been banished into the wilderness for his errant riding sins and riding wearing only a fig leaf.
BEST BET; R8 GENTILIS (4)
NEXT BET: R1 SMART GUY (6)
VALUE BET; R6 RIYADH (12)
RACING EXPERT SARIKA CHOY’S SIX UP