Man of the moment Moreira delivers for Hall
Joao Moreira's momentum continued unabated with a treble that moved him ever closer to the Jockeys' Championship lead, but two of the in-demand jockey's winners - both for David Hall - might not have been and were only confirmed within minutes of declarations.
Moreira's wins on Gold Tartini and Great Pegasus for Hall and victory on odds-on favourite Divine Ten for Me Tsui Yu-sak gave the Brazilian 15 winners from the last three meetings and took him to 44 wins for the season so far, within 13 of suspended leader Zac Purton.
While many trainers have lamented that Moreira's man-of-the-moment status means they cannot book him for rides, Hall had some luck in gaining the services of the Magic Man on both of his winners - which also happened to be the first success the pair had shared.
"Joao is hard to get but in these two cases he fell into our lap," Hall said. "We backed Gold Tartini up, and Joao already had a ride, but that horse didn't end up being entered.
"Douglas Whyte would have been on Great Pegasus, but the way they split up the Class Four meant he ended up on a horse he had already committed to, so Joao could have easily not been on either winner. In 10 minutes it turned into two rides."
Gold Tartini had resented blinkers when they were tried last season, but with a switch back to the turf on a seven-day back-up he travelled sweetly in the shades and was able to kick away to deliver an easy three and a half length victory.
"He could be one of the skinniest, weakest little horses we've seen in Hong Kong, so it is very hard for him to show any braveness around horses. But I was too afraid to put the blinkers back on him after last time," Hall said. "Joao thought that was a while ago that we tried and we could try again."
Great Pegasus won first-up for Hall in Class Five earlier in the season after an off-season transfer from Almond Lee, before a couple of pre-race tantrums saw the six-year-old withdrawn on two occasions.
After throwing himself on the ground at Happy Valley while being saddled, Great Pegasus refused to be saddled at Sha Tin - hard work from Hall's staff paying off as the gelding scored as favourite.
"He was worth doing the work with as we knew he had another win in him," Hall said. "We've got him to respect us more but he still tested us before the race today, he had a bit of a go, but we have worked him out a bit now."
Divine Ten overcame an unfavourable draw that forced him to run into a headwind with a big weight, Moreira saying the effort might have been better than the neck margin indicated.