Joao Moreira stole the show once again with his fourth treble in a row tonight (Wednesday, 2 December) at Happy Valley, and he capped his hat-trick with a smart victory aboard Kinda Cool in the first section of the Class 4 Gloucester Handicap (1200m).
“It’s not too difficult when you get an inside gate – he’s been a nice horse, he has been a little bit unlucky with his gate and today it wasn’t the case and I think it’s paid off,” Moreira said.
The Brazilian ace moves to an unrivalled 48 wins at the top of the jockeys’ championship table, and has 12 victories from his last 25 rides, 20 wins clear of reigning champion Zac Purton, who missed tonight due to suspension.
“Frankie (Lor) had him very well for the race – it wasn’t too complicated for me, I just had to make sure I didn’t run into traffic and when I got him into the clear he just showed the ability that he has – he won with a little bit of authority,” Moreira said.
The New Zealand-bred four-year-old grabbed his second win from seven starts in Hong Kong and as a 60-rater at present will move up to Class 3 next start.
But trainer Frankie Lor credited the good gate and gear change for the win: “He’s drawn wide his last two starts here – I think at Happy Valley he needs a good draw and also, I gave him blinkers for the first time he looks more concentrated.”
Moreira kicked off his treble aboard Ready Conqueror, who staved off his rivals to win the Class 5 Lockhart Handicap (1000m), before driving Caspar Fownes-trained Champ Patrol to a comfortable win in the second section of the Class 4 Gloucester Handicap (1200m).
But Moreira almost made it a running four-timer as We The South (127lb) tried to go all-the-way, but was denied in the Class 3 Fleming Handicap (1000m) by Blake Shinn and Handsome Bo Bo (125lb).
“I knew I was coming fast, I had a pretty good run from an awkward draw but the horse bounced well, he wanted to be in the fight the whole way,” Shinn said.
The Helmet chestnut had his first run for Danny Shum tonight, and his first since the end of May, to score a drought-breaking win that stretched all the way back to April, 2018, and also returned first-up this season following a bone stress injury.
“Honestly the credit has to go to Danny (Shum), the horse is coming off an injury and he’s only recently taken the horse over and he was on the top of his game tonight.
“I was just the lucky recipient to take the ride and it’s great to be back riding for Danny to get my first win this season for him,” Shinn said.
Shinn moves to six wins this term and secures his third from the last five race meetings.
Lui notches 700 Hong Kong wins
Francis Lui will have one his biggest moments as a trainer when Golden Sixty runs for glory in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile but tonight he notched a significant milestone of his own with his 700th Hong Kong win.
“I’m happy – I just try to win as many I can,” said Lui after Le Terroir’s win in the Class 3 Harbour Handicap (1200m) brought up the landmark success for the handler.
Lui was first licensed for the 1996/97 season and ended last term with a personal best 63 wins, which included a clean-sweep of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series with Golden Sixty, and this term he has 18 wins and is cemented firmly in fifth spot on the trainers’ championship table.
Vincent Ho who has been one of Lui’s main allies in recent years, and is Golden Sixty’s regular rider, was in the plate for tonight’s success.
“I was pretty confident tonight with the good draw, he improved again and he’s done well for Francis (Lui),” Ho said.
Karis Teetan returned from a two-meeting suspension with a win, driving home the Dennis Yip-trained Murray’s Partners to his fourth win from his last five starts in the Class 3 Thomson Handicap (1800m).
“He’s going so well at the moment – from last season to now, even working him in the morning he just feels like such a different horse – it’s a credit to Dennis (Yip) that he’s had the horse turn a corner and start again,” Teetan said.
Teetan also snapped a 36-ride winless streak that stretches back to 11 November at Happy Valley when he took home a treble. Tonight’s win is the Mauritian’s 24th this term.
“He only just won it today but he’s always been winning his races like that – I don’t know how much more he has still to improve but he’s doing everything right,” Teetan said.
Peter Ho kept on rolling this term with his fifth win as Wonder Win (123lb) overhauled Socket Elite (123lb) by a short-head in the Class 5 O’Brien Handicap (1800m).
Danny Shum and Alexis Badel combined in the opener, the Class 4 Jaffe Handicap (2200m) as Dynamic Eagle (123lb) outlasted the challenge of Above (132lb).
Hong Kong racing continues this Sunday (6 December) at Sha Tin.