Striving for a fifth title despite fatigue and soreness, Joao Moreira believes Zac Purton has a superior book of rides as the arch-rivals square off for the Hong Kong jockeys’ championship at an epic season finale at Sha Tin on Saturday (16 July).
Locked with fellow four-time Hong Kong champion Purton on 132 wins for the season, Moreira trails by the slimmest margins because his tally contains two dead-heat wins compared to Purton’s one dead-heat, meaning the Brazilian has to produce one more winner on the 11-race card than Purton to claim overall honours.
Having led Purton by 18 wins in February, Moreira has 10 rides tomorrow – one fewer than his Australian adversary – and is optimistic Jumbo Fortune and Chevalier Prince, who contest the final two races of the meeting, can help deliver the title despite his belief Purton is best placed to succeed.
“Honestly, I think Zac has a better and a stronger book of rides than me on the last day but it’s probably going to go all the way to the wire,” said Moreira, champion in 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2020/21.
“I have to treat it as a normal race meeting so I just try to perform at my best but, physically, I’m very tired, very stressed – that’s not a secret to anybody. (I’m) extremely tired, destroyed – (in) broken pieces, to be honest, but it’s been great.