Joao Moreira maintained his three-win advantage over Zac Purton in the battle for the Hong Kong jockeys’ title as both riders secured doubles at Happy Valley on Wednesday.
Moreria has 109 victories to his credit now after Victorious Seeker struck in the Wan Chai Handicap before Simply Fluke made it two wins in as many runs since joining Douglas Whyte’s team in the first division of the North Point Handicap.
“I just allowed him to find his own rhythm. We know he’s got a good turn of foot and he’s the type of horse that if he gets there a bit too early, he can lose concentration. He felt that way last start when he won,” Moreira said of Simply Fluke.
“He built up a good momentum, they went quite fast in front and they were always going to be coming back for me on the home straight. His last section of the race was really good and he might win another one.”
Purton, who has won the title for the past two seasons, secured an easy win aboard the Jimmy Tung-trained Sky Show in the second division of the North Point Handicap.
He said: “He’s a nice horse and physically he looked well. He came out of Conghua trials where there was no pressure so he went to the races on debut a bit big, he had that competitive run and a good trial and that just brought him on.”
Purton had earlier struck gold aboard Happy Warrior in the Quarry Bay Handicap, with trainer John Moore also sealing a double with that win.
Moore said: “Drawing the plum gate (one), getting the gun run and having the horse with the speed to hold that position, they were the key factors.
“Zac said to me ‘you must have been jumping up and down going to the corner’ because he was going so well.
“He hit the line strongly, it was a cheeky win and that will put him in Class Three (race) down the bottom. He deserved that win.”
The handler took the opening Tai Hang Handicap with Gala Night in the hands of Derek Leung, who also scored on Irish import Delightful Laos in the first division of the Fortress Hill Handicap.
The Tony Cruz-trained three-year-old won a Dundalk maiden by more than two lengths last October when running as Now The King and triumphed by a length and a quarter on this occasion.
“It’s his first run here and that was the first time I’d sat on him but he gave me a good feel, he raced with maturity and I think he has a good future,” Leung said.
Ricky Yiu is hoping to win a first trainers’ championship this term and Shining Gem got another win on the board for him in the first division of the Causeway Bay Handicap, putting him six clear of his nearest rival.
“He’s a very genuine type, he showed as a three-year-old last season that he had potential to win races. We always had quite high expectations for him and now he moves into Class Two (races), he’s a nice, genuine type,” Yiu said.
Neil Callan was also amongst the winners aboard Acclaimed Light in the second division of the Fortress Hill Handicap.