Joao Moreira’s aspirations of securing a fourth Hong Kong jockeys’ championship have soared after the Brazilian notched a five-timer at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (19 May) as defending champion Zac Purton suffered back complaints.
Having watched Purton cut his lead to 13 with victory aboard David Hayes-trained Red Majesty to claim the first race of the night – the second section of the Class 5 Tan Shan River Handicap (1650m) – Moreira put on a clinic, claiming five of the ensuing eight races.
With 15 meetings left in the 2020/21 season, Moreira stretched his lead to 18 – 128 wins to Purton’s 110 – after the Australian suffered back complaints and had to forfeit seven remaining mounts for the program.
Wednesday night’s haul marked the 19th time in seven years – and second time this season – that Moreira has posted five winners at a Hong Kong meeting.
“We don’t get so often these good days, so I’m very happy,” Moreira said, declining to agree with observations the championship battle with Purton is now over.
“I don’t take things for granted and anything can happen and I have to be realistic. The chances of myself are higher, but nothing is for certain yet.”
Purton is hopeful he can overcome his back complaint to partner Exultant in quest of a third straight G1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (23 May) after it was caused when Red Majesty left the gates in the evening’s opening event.