Racing

The Moreira-Purton Battle continues

The two Hong Kong titans remain locked together with two winners each

The enthralling back-and-forth tussle for the jockeys' premiership between Joao Moreira and Zac Purton continued at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.

The two Hong Kong titans notched a double each to remain tied up, on 119 wins apiece.

"It's such a journey, but it's a good one," said a happy Moreira, after steering Shining Ace to take the last of nine events, the Class 2 Ho Chung River Handicap over 1,200m.

Purton was fastest off the mark, edging one ahead when Dionysus Collin landed Race 2, the Class 4 Tan Shan River Handicap over 1,800m.

It was the defending champion's first ride on the Dream Ahead four-year-old. His booking made a difference as the Francis Lui-trained gelding knuckled down to earn a maiden win at start 20.

Moreira fired an immediate reply in the next race, with a sublime all-the-way victory on the Caspar Fownes-trained Lightning Steed in the Class 4 Tai Shing Stream Handicap over 1,650m.

"I rode him the time before, but Caspar said this time it would be a bit different. The circumstances today just allowed me to ride the horse how he likes to be ridden, and he quickened down the straight in a way that he was never going to get beaten," said Moreira.

The big two were kept quiet through the middle part of the card but Purton was back in front when the Danny Shum-trained Golden Dash took the Class 3 Lam Tsuen River Handicap over 1,200m under well-judged riding.

"We had a good draw, so obviously that helped. But Danny's done a good job to bring him back from injury. He's given him plenty of time and a couple of runs to get him ready for this," said Purton.

"He drew the right gate (1) and enjoyed a little bit of give in the ground. He won't be out of place in Class 2."

Purton went into the last race on the 3.3 favourite Amazing Star, but Moreira was not to be outdone.

The "Magic Man" ensured Shining Ace held the rail in a prominent spot, applied pressure to Purton's mount around the turn. When his rival began to fade, he gave the John Size-trained four-year-old a dig and enjoyed a rolling run to the line in the rain.

"He just loves the wet. When he won with me before, it was raining and the ground was soft," said Moreira.

"I was surprised that he was able to bounce out so quickly and challenge those fast horses up there. But, as well as he was going, he was never going to stop. It's a great training achievement. All the praise should go to John -he's improved this horse so much.

"Hopefully, the winners will keep on coming." - HKJC

HORSE RACING