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Joao Moreira’s first ride on Sunday is the aptly named “Quick Return” – @sanjchug

There is a nice bit of symmetry with the Magic Man’s first ride back in Hong Kong coming aboard Quick Return – he has only been missing for 20 meetings.

While he was always going to be competing at the Hong Kong International Races, Sunday’s card is a nice little test run for what life could look like as John Size’s stable rider.

Joao Moreira poised to make stunning return to Hong Kong

Moreira has nine rides – six for Size – while he has also picked up horses for Danny Shum Chap-shing, Frankie Lor Fu-chuen and Francis Lui Kin-wai. It is clear there is still an appetite for the Brazilian among participants.

It looks to be a strong book and it would not surprise to see the Jockey Challenge bookmakers have Moreira as favourite when the market opens up on Saturday.

His return has made an immediate impact on Sam Clipperton, who has just two rides on Sunday (one for Size) after partnering 44 of the 10-time champion trainer’s 98 runners so far this season.

With Gerald Mosse also in town for four rides, the squeeze is also being felt by Keith Yeung Ming-lun and Umberto Rispoli, who have three and four bookings respectively, well down on their usual numbers.

An announcement from the licensing committee about Size’s application for Moreira to be his stable rider is imminent, but this might be a glimpse of what the future looks like.

Joao Moreira takes ride on boom sprinter Hot King Prawn

On a similar note, the Jockey Club announced on Thursday that Tye Angland and Oisin Murphy have been granted short-term licences to cover for some injuries and upcoming suspensions.

Angland is available for rides on November 25, while Murphy will be here for four meetings, starting with the Happy Valley card on November 28 and concluding with HKIR.

Disaster for favourite backers and Zac Purton at the Valley. Would assume punters went home with their pockets empty and “Zac-Man” drove home with his windows darkened – @wallypryah

It is fair to say the past two meetings at the city track have not been kind to the defending champion.

Last week he was beaten on three favourites – Actuariat (3.5), Marvel Joy (4.6) and Have Fun Together (4.6) – and that was compounded on Wednesday night as Wonderful Tiger (4.6), Champion Supreme (2.3), Country Star (1.5), Bigwood (3.7) and Red Warrior (1.7) all went under.

So in his past 14 rides at the city track, he’s been on eight favourites for a haul of zero wins, four seconds, a third and four fourths.

To be clear, Purton is still the best jockey in town – but things haven’t gone his way recently (particularly at the Valley) and he would like to be converting a lot of those seconds (he has 29 of them so far this term) into winners.

Punters hit hard as short-priced favourites go under at Happy Valley

Punters would also be better served not to blindly follow him. Purton has been flabbergasted at the price some of his mounts have started this season and the results so far show those having a flutter are better off finding value elsewhere.