The connections of Excellent Peers and Yo Beauty have turned to Zac Purton and returned to Antoine Hamelin, respectively, as their gallopers shoot for the top of the DBS x Manulife Million Challenge leader board in Wednesday night’s last two races at Happy Valley.

Purton will ride Frankie Lor Fu-chuen’s Excellent Peers for the first time this season in the card-closing first section of the Class Three Tin Lok Handicap (1,200m), taking over the reins from Hugh Bowman, under whom the Million Challenge contender finished runner-up to Nordic Dragon on December 21.

The champion jockey, who experienced a rare barren Sunday afternoon at Sha Tin, has ridden Excellent Peers previously, but that was last term before Lor received the speedster from Ricky Yiu Poon-fai.

Hamelin will partner Tony Cruz’s Yo Beauty two starts after he rated him well to lead all the way, also on the December 21 programme. Hamelin replaces Cruz’s indentured apprentice rider, Angus Chung Yik-lai, who was Yo Beauty’s pilot when Armour Eagle turned the tables on the on-speed sprinter on January 11.

Excellent Peers and Yo Beauty are joint third in the Million Challenge on 42 points apiece, trailing Caspar Fownes-trained Nearly Fine (53 points) and Cruz-prepared Street Scream (45 points) with eight points-scoring events across two meetings remaining.

With 15 points awarded to the winners of Happy Valley contests at Class Three level or above from September 14 to February 8, Excellent Peers and Yo Beauty have opportunities to hit the front on Wednesday night.

Against Excellent Peers in the Tin Lok Handicap are not only his 135-pound impost and wide gate but also three last-start winners – Jamie Richards-trained Armour Eagle, Hong Kong debutant Outgate representing the Cruz stable and the only horse to win four times at Happy Valley this season, Francis Lui Kin-wai-prepared Gold Gold Baby.

Among Yo Beauty’s rivals in the second section of the Tin Lok Handicap are Fownes-trained last-start winner Sugar Sugar, who competes in the grade for the first time, Lor’s Happy Valley specialist Adios and John Size-prepared progressive three-year-old speedster Howdeepisyourlove.

Meanwhile, Matthew Chadwick – whose 17 wins this term include two Happy Valley triumphs aboard Excellent Peers and three city-circuit successes on the back of Street Scream – is on track to resume race riding at next week’s Million Challenge finale.

Jockey Club medical staff have approved Chadwick to ride in trackwork from Wednesday and trials from Friday with a view to him accepting race-riding engagements on the February 8 programme.

Sixty gives connections another chance to show sporting enterprise and travel

Chadwick, who is seventh in the jockeys’ premiership, sustained injuries when unraced three-year old galloper Plentiful – then in the Richards stable but now a member of Pierre Ng Pang-chi’s team – dislodged him during the Sha Tin trials on December 13.