Joao Moreira will miss Saturday’s meeting at Sha Tin after suffering chest pains at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Moreira finished seventh aboard Oh Bravo in the opening contest at the city circuit but was forced to give up his remaining eight rides after experiencing discomfort, with Jockey Club stewards later announcing that the Brazilian had also been stood down from this weekend’s fixture.
The Magic Man’s enforced absence comes at a crucial stage of the season as he headed into the midweek meeting just two winners clear of Zac Purton in his quest to win a fifth jockeys’ championship.
With Moreira sidelined, Purton would have been hoping to wipe out his title-race deficit by the close of play at the Valley but his night turned into a frustrating one, with a string of placed efforts following his victory aboard Run The Table in the opening Class Five Cochrane Handicap (1,650m).
Always well positioned just behind the pace, Purton waited until halfway down the Valley straight to unleash Run The Table, who showed a decent turn of foot for the grade to win by a length and a quarter.
The five-year-old’s victory was a 53rd winner of the season for Francis Lui Kin-wai, who had gone two meetings without saluting before this success.
Moreira missed out on at least one victory on the night, with Winning Icey saluting in the Class Four Gage Handicap (1,200m) under replacement Luke Ferraris, however three runner-up finishes for Purton means the Brazilian still leads by one with seven meetings remaining.
Purton would have been sick of the sight of Derek Leung Ka-chun’s backside by the end of the meeting after chasing him home twice during the first half of the card.
Purton had the ride on the well-backed $2.5 favourite See U Again in the Class Four Hong Kong Young Industrialists Council 30th Anniversary Cup (1,000m) but despite holding a good position from an early stage, his mount never looked like threatening easy winner Sergeant Pepper.
Leung was happy to sit prominent on the four-year-old and kicked clear turning for home to beat Purton’s mount by a length and a quarter.
Leung’s double could not have been brought up in more contrasting style as he came home with a tremendous late run aboard Bulletproof to salute in the Class Four Graham Handicap (1,650m).
Last in the early stages, Bulletproof had plenty to do turning for home but he produced a sparkling turn of foot to run down Blissful Star under Purton, who must have thought he was on course to ride a second winner of the night when kicking clear in the home straight.
Bulletproof’s trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai has now been successful at least once at the past nine meetings as he finishes the season on a high.
Purton was also aboard Ares, who stayed on late to finish just over a length behind Cigar Buddies in the Class Five Elgin Handicap (1,200m), with the winner never relinquishing an early lead after breaking from the stalls like a bullet.
Elsewhere on the card, Michael Chang Chun-wai picked up his biggest win of the season when Family Folks came from a long way back to beat Lucky Sweynesse in the closing Class Two Staunton Handicap (1,200m).
Caspar Fownes has less than a month left before he relinquishes his champion trainer crown but his attempts to end the season on a high continued with a double.
After the earlier success of Winning Icey, Fownes was again on the mark when another promising youngster Nicconi County picked up his second win of the season in the Class Three Lyndhurst Handicap (1,200m).
The three-year-old was settled just off the pace from stall one by Vincent Ho Chak-yiu and stayed on well to fight off the late challenge of Yo Beauty by a neck.