Racing

Moreira can regain his lead

Brazilian has more and better rides than arch-rival Purton at Happy Valley tomorrow night

Joao Moreira, who saw arch rival Zac Purton cruise past to lead by four winners with his five-timer last week but clawed back to only one behind with his own Saturday treble, is expected to regain the lead tomorrow.

The Brazilian they call the Magic Man has a full book of nine rides at the Happy Valley night meeting, compared to six for the Australian.

Besides having numerical advantage, Moreira also seems to have better rides than Purton.

His best chances are the consistent Winning Ways in Race 5 and last-start winner Above in Race 8.

Both of them have won three Hong Kong premiership titles.

Their score now stands at 114-113, with Mauritian Karis Teetan way behind on 65 winners. There are 18 race meetings left in the season.

On Saturday, Moreira outpointed Purton three wins to zero with a skillful treble aboard Perfect To Play, This One's For You and Hong Kong Win.

He rode a sweet-stalking race on Perfect To Play, settling behind the lead and waiting for the gap to open midway down the straight.

He asked his mount to quicken when daylight was sighted. Reacting to his strong riding, the Caspar Fownes-trained galloper battled on to take the Class 4 Sapphire Handicap over 1,800m by a neck.

A race later, he overcame Gate 12 to score aboard the Francis Lui-trained This One's For You in the Class 4 Ruby Handicap over 1,650m on dirt.

He had to bide his time as he plotted a path through traffic, eventually pulling wide in the straight for a clear run to nick it by a head from Party Everyday.

The win took Moreira's total wins this term for the yard to six from 17 rides - an impressive strike rate of 35 per cent.

He wrapped up his treble atop the John Size-trained Hong Kong Win in the Class 2 Amethyst Handicap over the straight 1,000m.

"Sometimes you find luck and I had a bit of it with those two earlier rides. Hopefully, we can keep on kicking in winners," said Moreira.

Compatriot Vagner Borges, who is eight weeks into his current Hong Kong contract, took his tally to seven wins with a double.

Borges struck first in the second event - the Class 3 Jasper Handicap over 1,650m on dirt - aboard Touch Of Luck for the in-form John Moore stable.

The success took the rider's record for the trainer to three wins.

"John Moore has helped me a lot. He treats me well and gives me some nice rides," said Borges through an interpreter.

He followed up in the next event - section one of the Class 4 Peridot Handicap over 1,200m - on the Michael Chang-trained Gallant Legacy, who scored by 13/4 lengths.

The International Sale graduate's maiden win at start nine took the handler to 13 wins for the term.

"I have to thank the trainers and owners for the opportunities they have given me," said Borges.

"This support allows me to show that I can do a good job. I'm happy with how things are going right now."

HORSE RACING