By News Team
5th June 2020
Followers of Hong Kong’s top two jockeys didn’t know where to look last Sunday, as both Joao Moreira and Zac Purton drew blanks at Sha Tin and all 11 favourites on the card were beaten.
It was almost the case once more at Happy Valley on Wednesday where Moreira yet again failed to add to his tally of 123 winners, while Purton snared one victory and now sits clear on 128.
‘Magic Man’ Moreira is booked to ride in all 10 races at Sha Tin on Sunday, where races take place from 5:45am-10:50am, with Purton getting the leg up eight times.
War of Courage favourite for Fu Tai Handicap
After a host of competitive Class 5 and 4 handicaps for the early risers, the quality ticks up a gear for the Class 3 5f Fu Tai Handicap (9:10am).
With a season’s best over the minimum distance of 55.28s, WAR OF COURAGE sets the standard and looks likely to go off favourite, while CALIFORNIA ARCHER is an interesting runner for Tony Cruz. Only two of Cruz’s last 10 runners have finished outside of the first four and he’s now hot on the heels of Ricky Yiu in the Hong Kong Trainers’ Championship.
Champion jockey Purton has plumped for the ride on newcomer TOTAL EXCESS. He’s arrived in Hong Kong after two wins from three for Jamie Richards in New Zealand, where he carried the same colours as Southern Hemisphere Group 1 performer Te Akau Shark, and it will be interesting to see how he fares.
Moreira out to control proceedings with Dan Control
Two further Class 3 contests, each worth £150,000, warm things up nicely for the finale and feature race on the card at Sha Tin, the Class 2 7f Butterfly Handicap (10:50am).
Moreira has decided to jump off of TRANSCENDENT in favour of DAN CONTROL, having had no luck on the son of Dabirsim last time out.
Formerly known as Pizzicato and a winner on All-Weather Championships at Lingfield last year, Transcendent is now one win from five starts in Hong Kong. He’s struggled to get involved on his last couple of starts but is a hold-up horse who requires plenty of luck in running if his late rattle is to be effective.
Dan Control will be popular in the betting given the booking of Moreira and he looks a progressive four-year-old from the all-powerful John Moore stable.
A fortnight ago, GLORIOUS SPECTRUM came so close to winning that even the racecourse commentator called him home on top! A nostril separated him and eventual winner Band Of Brothers, and jockey Antoine Hamelin will be eager to finally get his nose in front.
MONGOLIAN KING, ridden by Karis Teetan, who sits third in the jockey standings, is also an interesting contender, switching from the all-weather for his first run on the turf in three starts.