Joao Moreira managed the rare feat of taking out the Jockey Challenge without winning a race on Wednesday, but the Magic Man probably won’t have to rely on placings at Sha Tin on Sunday with a host of chances.
Neil Callan and Alexis Badel rode doubles at Happy Valley during the week but Moreira’s four seconds and one third gave him 28 points and enough to win the Jockey Challenge for the second straight meeting.
If early markets are any indication, the Jockey Challenge could be over quickly as well, with Moreira on the first four favourites including Noble De Love and Ensuring in consecutive races for Frankie Lor Fu-chuen.
Moreira and Lor have combined for five wins from seven starts so far this season although a win on either horse today would be the duo’s first outside Class Five.
Race five looks a pivotal head-to-head clash between Moreira on Dinozzo and Jockey Challenge second favourite Zac Purton on Sacred Elixir.
Dinozzo has run well twice this season and even though Sacred Elixir showed some good signs first-up, he will have his work cut out carrying the same weight as his more seasoned rival.
Dinozzo is one of Moreira’s three consecutive rides for members of the Siu family – he is raced by Siu Pak-kwan while Time Warp and Thewizardofoz are owned by Martin Siu Kim-sum.
Time Warp ran an enormous race in the Group Three Sasa Ladies’ Purse, nabbed on the line by the fast-finishing back-marker Nassa after Moreira let his horse run along in front.
Up at 2,000m and with a more conservative ride, Time Warp could give race favourite Werther a scare in the Group Two Jockey Club Cup.
Thewizardofoz has become a frustrating horse for punters and again let his supporters down with a disappointing ninth first-up in the Group Two Premier Bowl as $3 second favourite.
The John Size-trained six-year-old’s most recent trial can’t be ignored though and if the Group Three winner brings that form to the races he will be hard to beat from barrier four.
Seasons Bloom is early favourite for the Group Two Jockey Club Mile after trainer Danny Shum Chap-shing skipped a run after a disappointing second-up display.
Moreira was aboard Seasons Bloom first up for an excellent win on opening day and if the five-year-old replicates that form it should put him in the frame.
Top Beautiful might be Moreira’s best chance of the day in race nine, as the Chris So Wai-yin-trained four-year-old steps up to 1,400m against a weak looking field.
The last race again sees Moreira (Beat The Clock) and Purton (Jing Jing Win) go head-to-head on the leading two chances.