Heavy is the head that wears the crown and such are the expectations demanded of him that when, after six races, he hadn’t ridden a winner, some were talking as if Joao Moreira had disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle.

Of course, no one can walk on water all the time. Not even Brazilian magic men. It took the eighth race in the ten race card for Magic Joao to pull another rabbit out of his sombrero and produce his first winner of the day aboard Fantastic Way.

As we should know by now, the only certainty in horse racing is its uncertainty. Though drawn barrier 14 and racing over 1200 metres, Fantastic Way was bet down to start at $1.70. Losing was out of the question.

It wasn’t really the John Size trained galloper that many were pinning their hopes on. It was the Magic Man. The television racing hosts believed that the horse would win. But as they are prone to do, they hedged their bets with possible reasons why Fantastic Way could get beaten.

The moment the barriers opened all those doubts and lingering questions disappeared. Don’t know when and how, but Joao Moreira had his ride perfectly placed. It answered the question as to why he was nicknamed “Ghost” when riding in São Paulo- that ability for him to be somewhere when least expecting it. Imagine being a kid and playing hide and seek with Joao…

As for the run of Fantastic Way, it was a question of when Joao was going to release that Go button. And when he did, it was pure poetry in motion. Am I sounding slightly effete? So be it.

In that unmistakable style where he becomes one with a horse, Joao Moreira and Fantastic Way glided to the winning post. It was a beautiful hands and heels ride and an effortless win. There was no need for pumping up and down on the saddle and arms flaying all over the place. This might sometimes work in the boudoir. Might.

As for the other piece of magic- other than a mind boggling turnover this afternoon of over HK$1.6 billion- this happened when Joao Moreira partnered another John Size runner in Silver Express for the first time.

Last time out, the grey A train was a certainty beaten when his pilot seemed to lose control of the steering and the flight pattern abruptly changed course to destinations unknown.

This time- and with blinkers on for the first time- Silver Express was given a rail-hugging front running ride and streeted the rest of the field in a win that screamed out “Bring on the Hong Kong Derby”.

Bottom line: Size matters. So does Brazilian magic. It’s one helluva lethal combination. It’s the best there is in a game where everything is being watched these days through very different eyes.

Nothing lasts forever. And if horse racing is to compete with other sports for excitement and eyeballs and vive le difference, the past, no matter how great it was, belongs in the past.

#JoaoMoreira #JohnSize #FantasticWay #SilverExpress #MagicMan #Brazilian #HKracing