A Brazilian riding in Hong Kong and a New Zealand horse owned by an Australian training in Singapore could be the recipe for success in the Victoria Derby.
With the first two major races of the Melbourne spring carnival falling to international gallopers Admire Rakti in the Caulfield Cup and Adelaide in the Cox Plate, it would not surprise to see Atmosphere take out the main race at Flemington over 2500m on Saturday.
Atmosphere produced an eye-catching run when second in the Moonee Valley Vase on Saturday which in past years has proven a good guide to the Derby.
Hong Kong based Joao Moreira picked up the ride on the Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-trained Atmosphere, when the gelding’s owner, Singapore-based Australian trainer Shane Baertschiger put in the call.
Damien Oliver was given first choice after finishing second on the three-year-old at Flemington on October 4, but circumstances changed after the gelding missed the Geelong Classic on October 22 in which Oliver finished second aboard Preferment, his Derby ride.
Baertschiger said when told Moreira was heading to Melbourne to partner He’s Your Man in the Mackinnon Stakes he had no hesitation in booking the jockey for the Derby.
The pair combined successfully when Moreira rode in Singapore before his move to Hong Kong 12 months ago.
“Even though he didn’t ride for me a lot we were successful,” Baertschiger said.
“He’s one of the best jockeys in the world and when he was available I had no hesitation in putting him on.
“It will be good to team up with him again.”
Baertschiger said he would look at his runners in Singapore on Friday night and Sunday along with the Derby barrier draw before deciding whether to head to Melbourne.
“If he draws wide I’ll probably stay here,” he said.
“But if he draws OK I’ll jump on the midnight flight on Friday night afer the races and then come back for the races here on Sunday.”
Atmosphere is on the fourth line of betting for the Derby at $9 behind Hampton Court at $2.90 and Preferment at $4.80 with Moonovermanhattan, successful in Saturday’s Moonee Valley Vase, next best at $7.
Moreira has also picked up the ride, and a possible Melbourne Cup mount, on Signoff in the Lexus Stakes.
Signoff needs to win the Lexus to gain an automatic start in the Melbourne Cup.