Rumblings before the big event
by JOHN MUCCIOLO
Word on the “street” is that the mare Via Africa is well-fancied by her connections in advance of her run at the Al Quoz Sprint -- which goes as race 5. Trained by Mike de Kock, one of the winningest conditioners at the Racing Carnival, the mare will hope to follow in the footsteps of 2013 star Shea Shea, a fellow South African-bred.
The six-year-old Via Africa should have value after an unplaced showing on this oval last time, but she was a race short and figures to improve a great deal in a most competitive field.
For a hunch play in the same race, I did share an ashtray and had a brief chat with the owner/breeder of Sole Power the other evening. And the fact that our European savant, Kellie Reilly, fancies both of those runners (Via Africa and Sole Power) only adds to the appeal for me.
I got to see Lea stretch his legs one final time on Friday morning and the Bill Mott trainee looks the part in my view. While I would never consider myself a genius at viewing a horse gallop, it was encouraging to here Mott proclaim – “He was bouncing coming off the racetrack.”
The Hall of Fame conditioner is present and open to speak with anyone who might ask -- a true gentleman. Mott is easy to root for.
Top international rider Joao “Joe” Moreira gave the media some time Friday morning and the Hong Kong-based pilot spoke with confidence about his chances atop Designs on Rome for the $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic.
The Brazilian-born Moreira went out of his way to make sure everyone got their inquiries in -- a class act who will be riding the reigning Hong Kong Horse of the Year.
It drizzled for a few minutes Friday evening…but I decided to stay and soldier on through the tough conditions.
Looking forward to an exciting day!