Joao Moreira confident with Seasons Bloom in Jockey Club Mile

Seasons Bloom
Seasons Bloom will be one of many top-quality thoroughbreds lining up in Sunday’s Group 2 Jockey Club Mile at Sha Tin. Photo: HKJC

CHAMPION jockey Joao Moreira is confident Seasons Bloom can flourish in this Sunday’s Jockey Club Mile at Sha Tin.

Last year’s runner-up in the Hong Kong Mile behind Rapper Dragon, Seasons Bloom kicked off the new season with an impressive win in a Class 1 over 1200m and the Australian import followed that up with a placing in the Group 3 Celebration Cup in October.

Moreira believes the space in between runs will help his charge, which faces its toughest challenge to date.

“It’s very smart of Danny to have given him a nice space between runs. I think the horse will appreciate that and it will show in the race,” Moreira said.

“This is Seasons Bloom’s first hard test. So far he’s done very well, he’s faced some of these horses and beaten them; now he’s facing a few others that will make it a bit tougher but I believe he’s up to the competition.”

The Brazilian rider didn’t want to label Seasons Bloom the winner prior to the race, but he’s happy with the feel it have him in track work earlier this week.

“I can’t say he’s going to win because he’s against some very good horses but he’ll be right there,” Moreria said. “Whoever wants to win will definitely have to bring their very best because I’m sure he’s in good form.

“I galloped him the other day and he gave me such a great feeling.”

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One of the main contenders for this Sunday’s feature is Beauty Generation, which finished third in the Hong Kong Derby last season. The Group 2 Sha Tin Trophy winner is looking to remain unbeaten from three starts this campaign.

“Beauty Generation is just a different horse this season,” trainer John Moore said. “We changed the riding tactics and brought him back in trip and he’s really proving to be a force they all need to reckon with. He’s absolutely thriving at present.

“The horse is jumping out of his skin. He’s just come on so much from his first season in Hong Kong.

“He’s settled in and he’ll be in the firing line on Sunday. He’ll be close again.”

One of Moreira’s regular mounts, Western Express, will also line up in the field after scoring consecutive victories. He was already booked to ride Seasons Bloom, but Australian rider Sam Clipperton will take over the reins.

“I’m not riding him just because I was already booked for Seasons Bloom,” Moreira said, “But, Western Express and the horse I’ll ride, the form shows that there’s not much between them. Even their first race in Hong Kong, they raced against each other.

“Western Express had a lot of luck and the other had not so much. They’ve both kept on rising up, and, in my opinion, they’re both chances on Sunday.

“Western Express needs to lift a bit more, but I believe he can – I would never doubt what John Size is capable of.”

Clipperton, who has been riding in good form since arriving in Hong Kong, is happy about taking over the riding duties.

“I was taken by his performance the other day, he was tough all the way to the line,” he said. “That’s him though, he never wins his races by any great margin but he’s all heart, he finds a lot.

“There’s no doubt that he’s got the talent, he’s shown that in many of his starts. He’s on an upward spiral and I’m hopefully getting on at the right time. It’s of course very tough for him, he’s racing against top-liners, but he deserves his chance.”

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