Moreira's Magic 8 in Hong Kong
Champion jockey kicks home eight winners from 10 rides at Sha Tin
It was the Mr Stunning Show at Sha Tin on Sunday.
While the horse of that name shone in the Class 1 Friendship Bridge Handicap to place himself on the cusp of Group 1 assignments, it was the man in the saddle, Joao Moreira, who dazzled the most with a record-breaking performance.
The Hong Kong champion jockey endured a rare win-freeze seven days ago as he went zero from 10. But a week is a long time in any sport and, on Sunday, the Brazilian was on fire, scorching to eight wins from 10 rides on the 11-race card.
In doing so, Moreira bettered the old Hong Kong record of six in a day, which he had shared with Brett Prebble and Douglas Whyte.
"I really don't have words to describe it, it's amazing. We know how tough it is to make it here in Hong Kong," Moreira said, before going on to pay tribute to all his supporters.
"I didn't expect it to happen, to be honest. To ride eight winners in a day here in Hong Kong is more than special."
Moreira stormed the first four races on EASY TOUCH, DASHING DART, MR STUNNING and VICTOR EMPEROR before sitting out Race 5, but was back on the mark in the next on COOL AND NEAT.
He achieved his third Hong Kong six-timer when the talented three-year-old BEAT THE CLOCK justified 1.9 favouritism in Race 8, and that record fell when the "Magic Man" drove the Derek Cruz-trained MIGHTY MAVERICK to a three-quarter-length success in Race 10.
The champ then delivered a grandstand finale, urging PRAWN BABA to a length-and-three-quarter verdict in the last to notch his third career eight-timer.
Moreira achieved the feat previously in Brazil and Singapore.
The standout among his octet was Mr Stunning, who blitzed down the Sha Tin 1,000m straight in sub-56 seconds. Moreira believes the four-year-old is destined for better yet.
The 1.8 favourite travelled sweetly, slipstreaming the pace-setting Amber Sky until asked to quicken down the stands' side fence with 400m remaining.
By the 250m point, he was on top. With 50m to go, Mr Stunning was free-wheeling, ears pricked, as Moreira eased down for a two-length success over Not Listenin'tome. The official time was 55.65sec, with the winner's closing split clocked at 22.0sec. - HKJC