The rapid emergence of Courier Wonder as a galloper of potentially highest ilk has left Joao Moreira with a palpable sense of anticipation ahead of the Class 3 D’Aguilar Peak Handicap (1200m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (11 April).
John Size’s charge has won his only two starts by gaping margins – five and a quarter lengths on debut and three and a half lengths second-up, both over Sha Tin’s 1200m course – to stamp himself as a prospective top-liner and Moreira is suitably impressed.
“The (last-start) win itself (on 21 March) was very impressive and he gave me such a good feel – I would describe it as good as you could wish from a horse having his second run in town,” the Brazilian maestro said.
“He’s very talented. He’s the type of horse jockeys dream to be sitting on board. I call myself a very lucky guy, very blessed for riding such a horse.
“He is very straight-forward, very kind, very relaxed and he understands that, when it comes to the business, he delivers his best. He tries his best always and, secondly, he is very tractable.
“His finish is very powerful, he is very strong to the line – it looks like the sky is going to be the limit for this horse.”
Pitted against nine rivals, the son of Sacred Falls has drawn gate eight and will carry 133lb as he bids to maintain an unblemished record. Moreira is tellingly unfazed by the steep rise in weight, after last start carrying 121 pounds to effortless victory.
“I’m very confident. He hasn’t got close to the top of where he’s going to get to,” Moreira said. “He gets us very excited about what he’s going to do next season, I’m very excited for this bloke.”
Moreira will also partner Size’s Silver Express, who contests the Class 2 Cheung Lin Shan Handicap (1400m) after his fading ninth in the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) on 21 March to Sky Darci.
Moreira believes the grey is much better suited over shorter journeys.
“I think 1400m is his best range in distance,” the championship-leading jockey said.
“He’s a very powerful horse, he’s speedy and jumps very well. I can’t see anything different this time. He can put himself up in the leading division.
“He still has plenty of scope for improvement. He is winning with such authority, which we don’t often see in Hong Kong.
“There’s no doubt he’s quite an exciting type of horse.”
In a programme crammed with rising talents, Chad Schofield will combine with the David Hayes-trained Fantastic Treasure in the Class 3 Ma Kong Shan Handicap (1400m).
“He was ultra-impressive last time and showed a terrific turn of foot with a fair bit of weight (130lb) for a young horse and his win was as soft as they come,” Schofield said of the Written Tycoon youngster’s four-length romp at Sha Tin on 21 March.
“He’s up in grade now and it’s going to be a bit tougher in Class 3 but he’s a very exciting young horse going forward.
“He’s very fit and healthy. I can’t wait to ride him. He’s certainly one of the nicest young horses I’m riding in Hong Kong at the moment.”
Racing continues at Sha Tin on Sunday (April 11) with an 11-race card, which starts with the Windy Gap Plate Handicap (1000m) – the first Griffin race for the season – from 12.30pm.