‘Magic Man’ Joao Moreira lived up to his nickname once more at Sha Tin with a special five-timer on Sunday.
The meeting went ahead only after being given a last-minute reprieve, as stringent new measures were brought in to tackle the spread of COVID-19 – with gatherings in Hong Kong limited to a maximum of four people.
Course officials remain optimistic they will be able to carry on racing, however, because there are currently no restrictions on how many people may gather at a workplace – so with owners now barred from attending, it is argued racing falls into that category.
Moreira, who is involved in a tussle with Zac Purton to be champion jockey in Hong Kong, got the ball rolling on John Moore’s Above in the Tai Hang Tung Handicap.
In the following Lai Kok Handicap, Moreira steered odds-on favourite Fantasy to victory, before Purton pulled one back on Grade One in the Shek Kip Mei Handicap.
Moreira then teamed up with John Size twice to win the second division of the So Uk Handicap on Juneau Park and then the Nam Shan Handicap on Picken.
Purton made sure it was not all one-way traffic by winning the Pak Tin Handicap on Band Of Brothers – before Moreira completed a fine day by winning the Chak On Handicap on Shining Ace for Size, giving the trainer his own treble.
Moreira’s victory on Picken was his 900th in Hong Kong, making him just the fourth jockey in history to reach the milestone.
“It’s a great mark to reach – but I want to be looking back on it, leaving it behind,” he told www.hkjc.com.
“We knew Picken was coming to form – he’s at a quite nice place in the handicap, and we knew he was there to win his race, and I’m very lucky to be getting on him at the right time.”