It’s been one-way traffic in the titanic struggle for the jockeys’ title in the past week but, with six meetings remaining, the stage is set for one of the great battles of the Zac Purton and Joao Moreira era.

Purton reeled off eight winners in the space of seven days to take the lead for the first time since mid-April, following up a quartet on June 19 with a single success at Happy Valley in midweek and a hat-trick of victories at Sha Tin on Saturday.

That treble came in Moreira’s absence after he was stood down following an irregular heartbeat, but the Brazilian is back at Happy Valley on Tuesday night and determined to push his rival all the way to the line.

Purton and Moreira are level on titles with four apiece across an eight-year period of dominance and the stats this season make for intriguing reading as each bids to one-up the other.

Purton is striking slightly better than Moreira – with his 129 winners coming from 619 rides at a strike rate of 20.84 per cent, while the Brazilian has required 641 rides to peel off his 127 victories at 19.81 per cent.

It’s a significant area of improvement for Purton, who required 713 rides for his 125 winners last season – striking at 17.53 per cent – while Moreira peeled off his haul of 157 winners at 21.16 per cent.

Huge improvers do battle in quality sprint at Happy Valley

Purton has had six fewer runner-up finishes to Moreira – 89 to 95 – but has finished third 89 times to Moreira’s 61 this season.

Even the pair’s prize money totals are neck and neck, with Purton amassing HK$175,517,715 in stakes to shade Moreira’s HK$175,290,090. Each have a single Group One victory to their name this campaign – Moreira aboard Glory Vase in the Hong Kong Vase and Purton atop Waikuku in the Stewards’ Cup.

But what’s happened across the past 82 meetings will count for little during the final six and both jockeys have a full book of eight rides to work with at Happy Valley at a rare Tuesday night meeting.

Moreira returns to three rides for his biggest supporter John Size, climbing aboard the consistent Special M, the enigmatic Drops Of God and debutant Fingers Crossed, who won his most recent trial on the all-weather track.

Moreira also looks to have chances aboard David Hall’s Great Times and the Danny Shum Chap-shing-trained pair of Smoothies, who is dropping in class, and Sunny Delight, who was a close second last start.

While Moreira will attempt to help Size bridge the six-winner gap on Frankie Lor Fu-chuen in the race for the trainers’ premiership, Purton climbs aboard a couple of strong chances for Lor as the 56-year-old chases his first championship.

Gorgeous Vitality looks to have points in hand after a dominant win last start, while Lor-trained debutant Youthful Deal is also a trial winner who could make an immediate impact.

Like Moreira, Purton also climbs aboard a winning hope for Hall in last-start placegetter Never Too Soon, while Manfred Man Ka-leung’s E Legend and the Francis Lui Kin-wai-trained Win Win Fighter should also be right in the finish.