Joao Moreira’s influence on the Epsom Handicap meeting will be extended to the final Group One race of the Sydney spring carnival.
Moreira was the toast of Sydney racing when he claimed his first Australian Group One win in the Epsom Handicap on He’s Your Man.
But he could play a role in the result of another Group One without being in the country on Saturday.
Among the Hong Kong-based jockey’s three Epsom day wins, Moreira helped the Gai Waterhouse-trained Hampton Court stake a bid for the $400,000 Spring Champion Stakes when he rode the three-year-old to a sit-and-sprint win in the Dulcify Quality.
It was easily the better of Hampton Court’s two wins so far, but a Hong Kong suspension ruled Moreira out of a return to Sydney.
“If Joao wasn’t serving a suspension there was every chance he would have been riding Hampton Court on Saturday,” Tulloch Lodge spokesman Mark Newnham said.
“I spoke to him about it straight after the race and he said he would have liked to have ridden him.”
Instead, Moreira’s suspension presents an opportunity for Josh Parr to claim a belated spring Group One.
Parr watched on as Hallowed Crown took out the $1 million Golden Rose, a fortnight after he partnered the colt to a lead-up win at Rosehill.
Hampton Court includes James Packer and broadcaster Alan Jones among his owners and Waterhouse has earmarked him for a staying career ever since he won a 1400-metre race at the provincials during his two-year-old year.
“He’s a decent horse. His only disappointing run has been on heavy ground in his first prep,” Newnham said.
Hampton Court firmed to $8 for the Spring Champion after his Dulcify win and he shares the fourth line of betting with stablemate Valentia.
A Tim Clark mount, Valentia steps up from his Stan Fox Stakes placing when ridden by the stable’s No.1 jockey Tommy.
Berry will be in Melbourne to ride the Waterhouse-trained Almalad in another Group One race for three-year-olds – the $1 million Caulfield Guineas.