Hong Kong

Decisions loom as Excellent Proposal tries to woo Joao Moreira

Rise High wins the 2019 G2 Sha Tin Trophy

After Classic Mile contender Sky Field's impressive win, Moreira might have a big decision if Excellent Proposal stands out

 

By David Morgan

Joao Moreira knows he could face a tough decision at the turn-of-the-year should Excellent
Proposal continue his winning streak at Sha Tin this weekend, but the rider is relishing the
here and now that sees him holding the reins on not one but two early standouts for Hong
Kong’s three-race Classic Series.

The in-form Brazilian guided Excellent Proposal’s fellow four-year-old aspirant Sky Field to
a cute success on Thursday and is now looking to the John Size-trained galloper to further
bolster his Classic hand with a win in a Class 2 Handicap over 1,800m.

“It’s a decision to be made but it doesn’t have to be made right now. We’re still a long way
from the Classic Mile, which is in January, and they shouldn’t be clashing very soon. They’re
two very nice horses, I’m thankful to be riding them and when we get there, I will have to
choose the horse I think is best,” Moreira said.

Moreira has been surprised by the manner of Excellent Proposal’s two wins this term, which
have lifted the Exceed And Excel gelding’s profile to that of a leading Hong Kong Derby
prospect.

“He kind of impresses me more than what I initially thought,” Moreira said of the Australian
import. “I didn’t have a very high opinion of him at his first run in Hong Kong, when he was
second; I knew he was capable of winning a few races but I’ve been very impressed with the
way he has won his races this season, particularly the last race.

“He seems to be a horse that will run the distance very easily, he travels comfortably, and
he’s got a very good turn-of-foot when he’s asked.”

 

Earlier this week, Moreira cuddled the Caspar Fownes-trained Sky Field to a Class 3 1200m
score, and he sees the opening leg of the Classic Series, the Hong Kong Classic Mile, as that
speed-laden gelding’s main aim.

“I think a mile will be stretching Sky Field to his limit,” he said, “but I think he will be able
to run a mile. Caspar has been doing a very good job at teaching him. I rode him the way I
did because Caspar wanted me to do that, to get him behind horses, try to switch him off,
because the Classic Mile is coming up in January and he’s got to be able to relax.

“He’s been responding; not responding perfectly but he’s doing it. Maybe after a couple more
races he’ll get to where we want him to be.”

 

 

 

Actions speak louder than words as Joao Moreira regains his groove