Hong Kong Diary

New equine stars are on the rise in Hong Kong after Aethero’s stunning weekend win at Sha Tin but two old faces continue to dominate in the saddle. Joao Moreira and Zac Purton have ridden more than forty per cent of all winners after ten meetings and the arch rivals hold a string of leading chances when racing returns to Happy Valley this Wednesday.

  • Tuesday 15 October
  • Blog
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Moore cashes in as Aethero takes flight again

The race billed as the battle of the rockets left one horse shooting for the moon and another back on the launchpad as Aethero proved way too strong for the odds-on Voyage Warrior at Sha Tin on Saturday.

HK punters can be an unforgiving breed and Aethero drifted out to 4.3 after his headstrong 1200m defeat last month but one man who never lost faith was trainer John Moore.

The veteran handler said he told wife Fifi to “open the safe” once he saw the direction the market was heading in and his confidence proved spot on as his powerful chestnut dipped just inside Sacred Kingdom’s 2007 track record for 1000m under Joao Moreira.

Aethero has waved goodbye to handicaps for the time being and will now tackle the Jockey Club Sprint on November 17th. Plans for Purton to reclaim the ride were scuppered  when it emerged on Tuesday that the three-year-old will carry just 8st 1lb there and the fact that Moreira is likely to continue his link with champion sprinter Beat The Clock could leave the door open for a leading lightweight such as Karis Teetan.

More practice needed as leading Derby hope returns

Clearly relishing his renewed freedom as a freelance after spending last season retained by champion trainer John Size, Moreira is enjoying a vintage October and forged six ahead of Purton at the top of the jockeys table after a weekend five timer.

Champion's Way

However, this is the time of year when morning trials form a very important part of a top rider’s job and the Brazilian was back aboard the Size-trained Champion’s Way at Sha Tin on Tuesday morning.

The four-year-old won six from seven in his first season and has already achieved a rating (108) which would make him a live BMW Hong Kong Derby contender.

Some important questions need to be answered before the 2020 Derby next March – not least regarding the ability to stay 2000m - but Champion’s Way showed clear signs of ring rust when passing the post fifth in his first serious hitout of the season and is likely to have at least one more trial before he makes his reappearance.

Patient Hewitson hoping to be in the Money

Lyle Hewitson is one of several riders feeling the Moreira and Purton effect at present but the dual South African champion has maintained a positive outlook during a winless first seven weeks in HK and is optimistic that Money Marshal can get him off the mark at Happy Valley’s Wednesday fixture in the Kam Shan Handicap at 12.15.

“I remain hard working and happy so I’m sure I’ll crack the ice soon,” said Hewitson.

Lyle Hewitson


Money Marshal doesn’t look an easy ride but he lines up fresh from a good second in a bunch finish at Sha Tin and his rider is hoping he puts his best foot forward at the city track.

“He can run around and he hangs but he’s third up after a good run and I’m expecting him to run a positive race again.”

Hong Kong Diary
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