Ivictory scored back-to-back wins this season at Happy Valley.
©Hong Kong Jockey Club
By Andrew Hawkins
Jockey Joao Moreira is confident that Ivictory can measure up to Class 2 company when he makes his debut in the grade in the Flame Tree Handicap (1200m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (7 March).
Ivictory has won impressively twice over 1200m this season, once each at both Sha Tin and Happy Valley, to take his record to five wins from six starts. The John Size-trained galloper steps into in Class 2 off a rating of 95, a high starting point in the grade, but Moreira is not worried.
“I have no concerns at all,” Moreira said at Sha Tin on Tuesday morning (6 March). “The way he has been winning Class 3 races, you would think he would go up in class and still make it. Where he is at the moment in the ratings, off what he has done this season, you would think that there is still a big gap to where he is going to get to in the ratings. He is a serious horse.
“I’m quite confident about him, he’s a straight-forward horse. He’s done nothing wrong so far so that gives me the confidence that he can keep improving and that he can go there and get the job done.”
Ivictory has drawn gate six in the seven-horse field, but Moreira believes the four-year-old has sufficient gate speed to put himself into the perfect position however the race is run.
“He’s very fast, he should go forward,” the Brazilian rider said. “If someone else comes forward and wants to take him on, they’ll just be ruining their own chances. But even if I have to sit behind, I know that he has a great finish so if it comes down to that, I have faith in his ability to finish off strongly.”
Ivictory (128lb) is one of two sons of Mossman in the Flame Tree Handicap. The other is his former stablemate My Darling (133lb), who makes his debut for Paul O’Sullivan after eight months on the sidelines. Jockey Sam Clipperton will be aboard.
“I haven’t had the chance to trial him, but I know that he has plenty of class on his day,” Clipperton said. “This might be a bit short for him and he might be needing the run but I’m looking forward to partnering him.”
Later in the card, Clipperton partners Nashashuk for Size in the Class 4 Palm Handicap (1200m).
“I rode him in a barrier trial last year but I’m excited to get aboard him,” the rider said. “He needs to settle but he’s drawn the right gate to do no work and I think getting back up to 1200m will suit him.
“Horses stepping out for John always go out well-prepared so at least I know I’m on a live chance.”
The Happy Valley card begins with the Class 5 Birch Handicap (1800m) at 11.15am.