David Hall, Chris So and Caspar Fownes win three of the first four races, but not on hand for victories

Plenty of trainers were celebrating away from Sha Tin with three triumphant trainers not present for their winning presentation pictures as they took time off for the festive season. A typically smooth Joao Moreira ride delivered David Hall yet another win in the opening event with O’Socoole, with the Australian handler back in his homeland for Christmas. Chris So Wai-yin then made it two-from-two for the absentees when Aztec Empire scored a convincing Class Five win for Brett Prebble. By the time Popping Candy won race four, his trainer Caspar Fownes had already made a beeline for the airport at Chek Lap Kok. Fownes is combining work with pleasure as he gets some much-deserved rest and relaxation in Australia while sourcing new horses for his stable. Michael Cox

Joao Moreira believes John Size made “Right Call” with talented youngster

The Magic Man, Joao Moreira sounded like he was spreading his talents to headline writing when he spoke about his win on Right Call for John Size. “You can say that, once again, John Size made the right call,” beamed Moreira, who loves the instructions he gets from Size and never fails to be impressed by the accuracy of them. “John wrote it all down for me - what I should do, how my horse would behave, how the others would behave and it was all correct. One thing he did say was that, after coming over to lead them, that I should get going a bit early because Right Call is a little bit one-paced, so that’s what I did. He didn’t win by far but I think he’s a young horse, he has a lot of learning to do and big scope to improve when he is fully developed.” Alan Aitken

Almond Lee inches closer to 15 wins with Gold Talent’s shock success

Almond Lee reckons Gold Talent “needs all the favours” and the six-year-old got them when he broke a run of outs with an upset win. Derek Leung Ka-chun made good use of barrier two to win at 42-1 and Lee said it was circumstances, rather than his horse’s ability, that was the difference. “He has the perfect draw, the perfect position in the race and they went pretty fast at the start and set it up for the horses racing from behind,” Lee said. “Everything was in his favour.” Lee now has six wins as he looks to reach the minimum benchmark of 15 for the term in order to keep his licence. Michael Cox