They’ve won the past eight Hong Kong jockeys’ premierships between them and there hasn’t been a Longines Hong Kong International Races since 2011 where at least one of Zac Purton or Joao Moreira has not walked away with some Group One silverware.
Purton is the most successful jockey in HKIR history with nine wins but is probably the least likely of the pair to add to his haul, while Moreira has six international-day Group One victories and one big chance of making it seven.
Purton jumps aboard Lucky Patch in the Hong Kong Sprint (1,200m), Waikuku in the Mile and Glorious Dragon in the Cup (2,000m).
“I hope I can pinch one, they’re very hard races to win but my horses are in good form and they’re all fit and healthy. The draws have made it a little bit harder, a little bit tricky, but we’ll see what we can do,” Purton said.
Jockey Club Sprint (G2)— (@WorldRacing1) November 21, 2021
1200m , 4.750.000 HKD, for 4yo+
Lucky Patch (NZ)
(5G El Roca - Gould, by Danehill Dancer)
J : C. L. Chau
T : K.-W. Lui
O : Patch Syndicate
B : G Harvey
Naboo Attack (AUS)
Sky Field (AUS) pic.twitter.com/xqhP7uSmxr
Lucky Patch brings the best form of Purton’s trio after winning consecutive Group Two lead-up races but his tough run at the barrier draw continued at Sha Tin on Thursday.
After saluting from gates 12 and 10 in his past two starts, Lucky Patch will again have to contend with a wide alley after being lumped with barrier nine and Purton knows it will be all that much harder to overcome at the top-level in a race featuring Japanese raiders Pixie Knight, Resistencia and Danon Smash.
“When you get to the big dance you want to get everything right and I will need a fair deal of luck to get the right spot, but he’s honest and he’s racing very well,” he said.
While Lucky Patch is currently rated a $6 third-elect in overseas fixed-odds markets and is likely to jump the shortest of Purton’s trio, Moreira looks poised to partner at least one favourite in Glory Vase.
Returning to the Hong Kong Vase after winning the race in 2019, the Tomohito Ozeki-trained Glory Vase is the top pick ahead of Britain’s Pyledriver.
“He would be my best ride of the four Group One races, I would say. His last win was outstanding, so he just has to produce his best to be hard to beat,” Moreira said.
The Magic Man also climbs aboard John Size’s Courier Wonder (Sprint), reigning Hong Kong Derby champion Sky Darci (Mile) and another galloper from the Land of the Rising Sun in Hishi Iguazu in the Cup.
Hishi Iguazu has been dealt gate 12 but Moreira believes the five-year-old’s form is proof enough that he can be competitive in a race headlined by his compatriots Loves Only You and Lei Papale, as well as Britain’s Dubai Honour.
“He’s been running against very good horses. Anything that finished ahead of him last start, if they had come over for this weekend’s race they would be hard to beat,” Moreira said of Hishi Iguazu, who was fifth behind Efforia, Contrail, Gran Alegria and Sanrei Pocket in October’s Tenno Sho Autumn.
“I have a bit of hope with this horse, it’s a strong race but I believe that he’s going to be right there.”