Super Missile’s scratching is a blow to Joao Moreira’s Jockey Challenge chances but the Brazilian is still in the box seat for a big haul as he returns from suspension for the BMW Hong Kong Derby meeting on Sunday.
Moreira collected five winners including the feature on Rapper Dragon on this day last year and with Nothingilikemore a leading chance in the Derby, a pronounced Class One favourite in Pakistan Star and a host of other chances he could repeat the dose 12 months later.
He will have to do it without classy three-year-old Super Missile, who would have started favourite in the last race after a dominant last start display.
Frankie Lor Fu-cheun’s three-year-old was scratched with lameness in his left hind leg on Saturday, leaving Moreira with nine rides but still a $1.65 Jockey Challenge favourite.
Moreira’s opening quote could easily be his best price for the day as he starts with two excellent chances before Pakistan Star contests a seven-horse Class One.
Danny Shum Chap-shing’s Charity Wings has drawn barrier three and shown he can take advantage of a nice gate already this season.
In race two, Doctors Delight returns to Sha Tin and steps up to 1,400m, a course and distance the sprinter was able to run second over during his first campaign as a three-year-old last term.
Three of Moreira’s other rides also look like starting favourite; Consort, People’s Knight and Gunnison.
Consort’s career is likely to always be considered a disappointment given how much owner Pan Sutong paid for the import but the six-year-old seems to have found his mark and gets a golden opportunity to win his first race in Hong Kong.
People’s Knight is another horse that cost plenty and he comes back to the turf for a tricky Class Two over 1,400m, a course and distance he has been successful twice previously.
Gunnison was a Group Two winner as a two-year-old in Australia and seemed well prepared for his first-up run on the dirt.
Although unplaced, Gunnison ran an enormous race considering he was trapped wide and from gate two, he should go close.
If there is a sneaky challenger at odds to Moreira in the Jockey Challenge, it could be another rider often in the same conversation about who is the world’s best jockey, Ryan Moore.
Moore makes a flying visit to ride the John Size-trained Ping Hai Star in the Hong Kong Derby, giving him a great chance at success, but he has also been booked for three of the horse’s stablemates.
Western Express placed in the 2017 Hong Kong Mile and if he can repeat that effort he looms as a knockout hope against Pakistan Star in the 1,600m Class One, while Nice Kick and Infinity Endeavour also look strong chances in lower grade support races.