Hong Kong Diary

Just 20 races remain in the Hong Kong racing season and the 11 at Sha Tin this Sunday mean different things to different players. Joao Moreira will want to go out with a bang on his final appearance of an up-and-down campaign; Zac Purton is on a victory lap having all but sealed a fourth jockeys' championship; and Ricky Yiu, Francis Liu and Tony Cruz have a different title in mind as they strive to be top trainer. Sky Sports Racing cover all the action as usual for a card with over £1.6m in prize money on offer.

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Cruz On The Hunt With Two Meetings Left

Anyone who thinks you can call the outcome of a Hong Kong trainers' title race before the last meeting of the season should have a word with Tony Cruz.

Cruz went head to head with Dennis Yip only to be denied in the very last race of the season on a raucous night at Happy Valley seven years ago and is now part of a three-way scrap with Ricky Yiu and Francis Lui, three and two winners ahead of him.

Cruz feels Sunday is "the deciding factor as to whether I've got a chance or not" and feels he needs "at least three winners" to put himself firmly in the reckoning for a third title. But one or two would be enough to keep the pressure on the top two - especially given that Cruz would outscore them both on second places in the event of a tie.

Whyte's Delight Worth Early Alarm

Sunday's featured Sha Tin Mile Trophy has produced a short field - hence the early off time of 7.00am - and half the eight runners hail from Britain and Ireland. Fast Most Furious has collected four Hong Kong wins and almost £900,000 in prize money since winning a Leopardstown maiden as Seville Star for Jim Bolger four years ago and looks bound to be popular with Purton booked.

But whether they can master General's Delight and Karis Teetan is another matter. Douglas Whyte's gelding has progressed really well in his first Hong Kong season, winning a Class 2 over course and distance, then showing further improvement to finish a close fourth in Group 3 company from way out of the handicap.

General's Delight was only half a length behind Fast Most Furious that day but has a 12lb pull here. In short, he's a well handicapped horse and Whyte is ending the season strongly after a double at the Valley on Wednesday.

Sky Is The Limit As Moreira Signs Off

Moreira still has a mathematical chance of pipping Purton to the jockeys' crown but knows the game is up with suspension looming for Wednesday's Season Finale at Happy Valley and told the South China Morning Post that "I need the off-season to freshen up and look after my health."

But the Brazilian has a powerful book of rides to sign off with and Sky Field may looks the pick of the bunch when he bids to confirm his trainer's high opinion of him in the Mr Award Handicap at 8.00.

Fownes is never slow to boost horses when he feel they can collect and said "I'd be disappointed if he doesn't make a mess of them" before Sky Field lined up over course and distance three weeks ago.

Hong Kong Diary
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