Sacred Capital (118lb) is the one non-Hong Kong runner in the Group 3 January Cup Handicap (1800m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday (8 January) night. The Macau-based galloper returns to the city having placed fourth to Southern Legend in the Ladies’ Purse.
Regular partner Peter Ho was in the plate for that run but Hong Kong’s three-time champion Joao Moreira is booked to take over this time. The Brazilian rode the Joe Lau-trained five-year-old in an all-weather track gallop at Sha Tin on Sunday morning, clocking 22.5s for the final 400m.
“He’s a good-looking horse, he’s strong – I wish he was based over here, to be honest, because he could be a top horse based on the way he presents and his ability,” Moreira said of last year’s Macau Derby winner.
“He’s going into this race with a light enough weight, he’s a nice individual and he seems like he’s going in with a genuine chance.”
Sacred Capital meets Southern Legend on 3lb better terms – for a two-length margin – than when the pair clashed in the Ladies’ Purse and Moreira believes his mount might well turn that result around.
“When he came over here and finished behind Southern Legend, he didn’t have much luck as he was exposed three deep – the horses around him pushed him back turning for home, rather than taking him forward.
“If he brings that form here, he’s a genuine chance – of course, we have to consider that he’s racing at Happy Valley for the first time but I don’t see much difference between Macau and Happy Valley – they’re both tight courses.”