By News Team
Last Updated: 21st April 2020
The race for the jockeys’ title in Hong Kong took another turn on Sunday as a Joao Moreira treble saw the Brazilian extend his lead at the top to four wins, though a Zac Purton winner in the finale saw it reduced to three.
Purton will be hopeful of eating into that lead significantly at Happy Valley on Wednesday as he is booked for a ride in every race, while Moreira is forced to miss the meeting due to a ban.
Schofield can remain on cloud nine with Above
While Moreira and Purton dominate the head of affairs in the overall jockey standings, it’s another pilot who is enjoying the most purple of patches at the moment. A treble at Sha Tin on Sunday meant Chad Schofield has now ridden 11 winners in the last eight meetings, and with rides in all nine races on Wednesday he’ll be confident of extending the fine run.
He might not have to wait long either as his mount ABOVE looks to hold very strong claims in the Heather Handicap (11:45am). The four-year-old took plenty of time to find his feet in Hong Kong. In fact, it took him 11 tries before he notched up his maiden victory, but since that win, he’s been a much-improved horse.
Above has already been successful three times this term, most notably last time when he absolutely bolted up by six lengths. He’s been raised 12 pounds for that win, meaning he’s improved almost two stone since the start of the 2019/20 campaign.
To back up his case further, the form of his six-length romp looks strong with the third, Defining Moment, winning twice since, while the runner-up, Good Days I, was just touched off at Sha Tin on Sunday. His main rival looks to be the Matthew Chadwick-ridden London Hall, who beat Above by a length in February. He’s giving weight away again here, though, and given how impressive Above was the last day, he is expected to reverse the placings.
Son of Frankel looks worth siding with for Purton
Moreira’s treble on Sunday means he’s the strong favourite to win a fourth jockeys’ title, but as we know, things can change very quickly in Hong Kong and with nine rides on Wednesday, Purton will be hoping things look much more in his favour after racing. One of his stronger chances will be in the form of TANGMERE in the Marigold Handicap (1:15pm) who should go close for Happy Valley supremo Caspar Fownes.
Fownes’ son of Frankel has found winning very difficult in his career so far and in 21 starts has only emerged victorious once. That, however, came in his most recent outing when he showed a good attitude to see off Methane over course and distance. The runner-up was a close third at last week’s Happy Valley meeting so the form has substance.
The five-year-old has been bumped up five pounds for that win meaning he now races off a mark of 60, but considering he was once rated 77 it should be manageable. He also only went down a short-head off that mark earlier in the season and with the winner that day now rated 70, having won twice subsequently, there is plenty to suggest Purton’s mount could be well-handicapped.