HONG Kong’s two most dominant jockeys, Joao Moreira and Zac Purton, could be set to take Happy Valley by storm on Wednesday.
Moreira (110 wins) and Purton (109 wins) are having their own private battle for the jockeys’ title, with Karis Teetan 46 winners behind Purton in a distant third.
Both jockeys arrive at the city track with a full quota of rides on the nine-race programme, and it’s not inconceivable they could go through the card between them.
With the recent hot weather and humidity up into the 90’s, the track on the “B” Course should ride fast and once again be an advantage to horses drawn low.
Past records point to horses drawn closest to the rail in races over the extended mile and it’s even more pronounced in races over six furlongs.
Over the past three seasons, horses drawn in stalls one to three have a 45 per cent win strike-rate in 93 races on the “B” Course.
Both Moreira and Purton have been lucky with their allocated draw numbers, especially Purton who has been drawn low in six races.
Moreira’s best chances of success look to be YEE CHEONG PEGASUS, who lines-up in Gladiolus Handicap (12.45pm) over six furlongs, and BEST ALLIANCE in the Chamomile Handicap (2.45pm).
It’s always significant whenever the ‘Magic Man’ rides for trainer Tony Millard, with the combination having a 28 per cent success rate this season.
With Millard’s stable hitting top form last Sunday with a double, hopes will be high they can add to that tally with Yee Cheong Pegasus who was given too much to do last start and looks a winner in waiting given he runs off the same mark here.
Moreira teams up with former 13-time Champion Jockey Douglas Whyte when he partners Best Alliance for the first time in what looks a highly-competitive handicap.
Half-a-dozen of these gallopers met three weeks ago when a blanket could have been thrown over them at the finish, with under two lengths separating winner Sunshine Warrior to eighth placed Reel Bizzy.
The well-backed Best Alliance was always travelling comfortably during that race, but could never find the gaps when needed in the closing stages.
This time, with Moreira in the saddle, expect the Brazilian to be in prime position before the home straight and then make a bid for glory.
Most of Zac Purton’s mounts will be near the forefront of the betting and it’s tricky to find which of his rides will prove betting propositions.
It may be worth taking a chance on his mount in the six-furlong Gladiolus Handicap (1.45pm), MOMENTUM GALAXY.
This Jimmy Ting-trained four-year-old is much better than his form figures suggest, having twice suffered desperate journeys recently.
He is capable of proving much better than his current handicap mark.
Yee Cheong Pegasus 12.45pm Happy Valley
Momentum Galaxy 1.45pm Happy Valley
Best Alliance 2.45pm Happy Valley
PYRAH’S PLACEPOT PICKS
1.15pm – 1 & 9
1.45pm – 2 & 6
2.15pm – 3
2.45pm – 7 & 8
3.15pm – 6
3.50pm – 1 & 6