Diamond Friends (127lb) was sent out a 2.1 favourite, but had to dig deep under Moreira to topple Winningli (109lb) and Dylan Mo by a short head. Great Toplight (125lb) was five and a quarter lengths back in third.
“I was a bit nervous in the straight because the other horse had an easy lead with a light weight and had raced away on the turn,” Lor said. “But that was a tough effort. He’s a bit of a tricky horse, so while I hope he stays in Class 5, I will still keep a senior jockey on.”
Moreira later made it a double aboard Red Marvel, for Lor’s former boss John Size, in the Class 3 Shek Uk Shan Handicap (1650m).
Size had earlier prepared Giddy Giddy to win his third race over 1200m on the Sha Tin dirt, taking the second section of the Class 4 Tin Ha Shan Handicap, while the roan gelding represented the first leg of a brace for apprentice Jack Wong.
Wong partnered Chris So’s Mythical Emperor to a pace-setting victory in the Class 3 Pyramid Hill Handicap (1200m)
“He’d always trialled well on the surface, winning by big margins, so I thought this would be the time to try him on the surface,” So said. “He will be in Class 2 now so it might be difficult for him but if he can get an easy lead with a light weight, maybe he could win again.”
So reigns at Sha Tin with Emperor double
The night’s last race also went to So, with Classic Emperor producing the performance of the night to win the Class 2 Hebe Hill Handicap (1650m) by a widening six and three quarter lengths.
By accomplished dirt sire Medaglia d’Oro out of a stakes-placed Malibu Moon mare, Classic Emperor has one of the more distinguished dirt pedigrees in Hong Kong but it wasn’t until start 26 that he made his debut on the surface.
“He was racing well on turf and races for his rating on the dirt are rare, so it just didn’t happen before now,” So said. “It’s a handy alternative to have now, even if the race set up perfectly for him with Tony Cruz’s horse (King Genki) setting that strong tempo. The owner really wanted to run in this race and it all panned out.”