Joao Moreira got the fillip he’d been looking for at Happy Valley on Wednesday, teaming up with Caspar Fownes to nail a much-needed double.
The Brazilian entered the arena four wins adrift of championship leader Zac Purton and that widened to five when the reigning champ took the opener. But with the Australian unable to add to that early score, Moreira hit back with two wins that narrowed the gap to three, with the tally running 129-126 in Purton’s favour.
Moreira kicked off aboard Sky Darci (NZ) (Darci Brahma) in section one of the Class 4 Renfrew Handicap (1200m) and backed up one race later with Green Luck (Street Cry) in the Class 3 Lancashire Handicap (1650m).
Sky Darci justified his race favourite tag and was well ahead of his rivals, racing ahead to a two-length success.
“I said to Joao ‘don’t hassle him early, just let him find his feet, I think he’s the best horse in the race’,” Fownes said.
“It didn’t look a strong race on paper and hopefully now the handicapper doesn’t destroy him. These young horses, they need to slowly earn their points the right way.”
Moreira was taken with the three-year-old son of Darci Brahma, who earned his second win at just his fourth outing.
“He’s a nice young horse with a bright future – it’s hard to say where he’ll get to but there’s no doubt he’s better than this class,” Moreira said.
Sky Darci was purchased out of Highden Park’s 2018 Book 1 draft at the New Zealand Bloodstock yearling sale for $160,000.
Like Hong Kong Derby (2000m) winner Golden Sixty (Medaglia D’Oro), Sky Darci did his early education in New Zealand under the tutelage of Matamata trainer Graham Richardson, for whom he had two trials.