Joao Moreira can breathe a little easier as he heads into a six-meeting suspension after extending his lead in the jockeys’ championship to 18 after riding a treble at Sha Tin on Thursday.

The Magic Man, whose ban for failing to ride out Zone D at Happy Valley last month starts on Sunday, is now well clear of his big rival Zac Purton and he was most impressed with the performance of the Casper Fownes-trained Galaxy Witness, who remained unbeaten when landing the Class Four Kut Cheong Handicap (1,200m) in good style.

“Galaxy Witness is doing what we expect him to do,” said Moreira. “He’s still very green and he’s still doing a lot of things wrong, but he’s got a lot of ability. He won with a lot of authority.”

It was a welcome result for Fownes after his Hong Kong Derby hope Senor Toba was found to be lame on Thursday morning and had to be scratched from the Class Two Fat Choi Handicap (1,800m).

Fownes will find out the extent of that injury on Friday but it is hoped it is not serious enough to rule the galloper – who was to be ridden by Moreira – out of the rest of the four-year-old series.

Moreira still made hay despite losing one of his plum rides, also successful on the John Size-trained Beauty Fit, who benefited from wearing blinkers for the first time to win the first section of the Class Three Kung Hei Handicap (1,400m).

“Apparently the gear change has made a big impact on his performance,” Moreira said. “He won with a lot of authority and he’s done what he should be doing if he’s running at his best.”

The Brazilian completed his treble on another Size runner in the shape of Running Glory in the second section of the Kung Hei Handicap and the trainer was thrilled with his gelding’s attitude.

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“He had to make a wide run on him but the tempo of the race was good enough for him to do that and he had plenty of cover on the circle. Coming down the side, he was comfortable,” Size said.

“He’s a nice sort of horse – he’s just a little bit small, but his heart’s in the right place. He’s a determined racehorse, as you saw today.”

While Moreira sits proudly atop the jockeys’ table, Size is now looking down on the rest of his fellow trainers after a treble of his own took him to the top of the trainers’ premiership, two clear of Frankie Lor Fu-chuen.

The Australian handler is looking to regain the crown he last won in 2018-19 – he finished second in the title race to Caspar Fownes last season – and he is now in pole position with 44 winners for the campaign.

Size’s first success of the day came with the consistent Country Boy, who picked up his second win of the term when coming wide down the straight to win the Class Four Prosperity Handicap (1,400m).