In-form jockey Zac Purton has beaten Jockey Challenge favourite Joao Moreira at the last two meetings with big hauls but the Magic Man can bounce back with the help of a strong finish at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Purton scored 56 points when he rode four winners to Moreira’s one last Sunday and a three-timer by the Australian led to a 48-point haul on Wednesday on another one-win outing for his rival.
It looks another head-to-head battle between Purton and Moreira, with the two leading jockeys the only two riders competing in all 10 races and booked on a host of top chances.
A win in the Group Three feature race, the Bauhinia Sprint Trophy, would provide either jockey with a huge boost, and both have strong hopes in the fascinating contest; Purton on the John Moore-trained Not Listenin’tome and Moreira riding Amazing Kids for John Size.
Yet it may come down to the later races – where Size-trained runners account for five of the record-breaking Brazilian’s last six rides – and Purton is aboard some decent chances as well.
In race seven, Size’s Money Boy faces not only the challenge of stepping up to 1,400m for the first time, but carrying top weight of 133 pounds against older horses and jumping from barrier 13. Still, the way the three-year-old won last month indicated the son of Hinchinbrook is headed higher in the ratings.
Purton’s ride in the race, Generous Heart has caught the eye as he has flashed home at both of his starts, but both were in restricted company.
Now trainer Dennis Yip Chor-hong has gone for a gear change, with blinkers on for the first time, which should help the four-year-old.
Still, the edge is with Money Boy at this stage with the Size horse carrying just three pounds more than his rival despite his impressive last start win.
In race eight, Moreira climbs aboard Roundabout as the grey seems to be coming back into form for Chris So Wai-yin, while Purton rides the Tony Cruz-trained Beauty Kingdom.
In this race it is the draw that swings things Moreira’s way after he came up with gate two and Purton is left with dealing with the outside barrier on the “C” course in the 1,400m Class Three.
The penultimate race of the day, a Class Three dirt sprint, looks one of the most open of the meeting, and perhaps Purton does have an edge here on Benno Yung Tin-pang’s Star Of Yan Oi, especially after Moreira’s ride Arizona Blizzard came up with gate 12 of 12.
Purton’s ride in the last, Beauty Generation, may even start favourite, but don’t discount Moreira on Western Express, who was stuck wide last start and now gets 12 pounds off his main opponent.