Wednesday, 8 August 2012
: Leading Kranji jockey Joao Moreira will soon be adding a tenth country to the growing list of places that he has brought his saddle to ' Sweden.
| Joao Moreira|
Photo by Racing and Sports
Besides his native Brazil where he began his stellar career in 2000 and Singapore which he has taken by storm in the last three years, the 28-year-old rider has also plied his trade in Argentina, Uruguay, France, Dubai, Hong Kong, Macau and Australia.
The two-time (2010 and 2011) Singapore champion jockey will still honour his engagements at this Friday's meeting at Kranji, but will head straight to the airport for a Copenhagen-bound flight after the last ride, meaning he will only miss Sunday's meeting, an absence which will barely test his colossal lead (87 wins on Danny Beasley) towards a third title being already a foregone conclusion.
Still, if some are wondering how a jockey from South America won the hot ticket for a gig in a Scandinavian country, a recent winner in our midst may provide some answers ' Gloria De Campeao
A true ambassador of global racing, the classy 2009 Singapore Airlines International Cup winner is Brazilian-bred (by Argentinian stallion Impression
), was prepared by a French trainer (Pascal Bary), was ridden by a Brazilian jockey (Tiago Pereira) and was owned by a Swede, Stefan Friborg.
And it is Friborg - a Swedish energy magnate whose wife is Brazilian and who races many horses in Brazil - who is the link to Moreira's Brazil-Sweden connection.
'I used to be employed by Mr Friborg when I rode in France seven years ago,' explained Moreira.
'He was here at Kranji when I won on Waikato
in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup last April,' recalled Moreira. 'We had a chat and he told me he would like me to come over to Sweden if he had a good horse running.
'His horses in Sweden are actually trained by a Brazilian, Fabricio Borges, whom I know very well as I used to ride for him in Sao Paulo, Rio, Parana, etc.
'Two weeks ago, they rang me again and told me they had two horses running in two big races on Sunday. Of course, I said 'yes' straightaway.
'It will be a good experience for me as I will see how they train and race over there. I heard it's quite different, but I hope I don't do anything silly in the races there.'
No doubt the talented rider is not bombproof, even if he will be well guided by Borges over Jagersro (Malmo), one of Sweden's two main racecourses, but the ever consummate professional would not head into the unknown without doing his own homework in the first place.
'Of the two, Energia Eroi
, is running in the Swedish Derby and he just came off a very good second in the Derby Trial,' he said.
'I saw the video of that run and he didn't have much luck from a wide barrier. He also went a little bit early, but still ran on well for second.'
On his second ride (Verde Mar), Moreira is oozing a little more confidence as his flawless record of three wins from his last three starts in Sweden before he campaigned unsuccessfully in Dubai, makes him a clear favourite in the Zawawi Cup, a Listed sprint race.
'Apparently, he holds the track record there. He should be the hot favourite,' said Moreira who returns to Singapore next Wednesday.
'It's always nice to get on top of a horse with a good chance.'
If the journey to the land of vikings and Volvos works out well for Moreira on Sunday, the Brazilian's passport could even be getting an 11th chop further down the road.
'The Swedish Derby is actually a trial for Energia Eroi towards the German Derby in September,' said Moreira.
'If he runs well, he could be heading there ' and hopefully me as well'