MOREIRA RULES OUT OF SATURDAY’S MEETING AFTER SUFFERING CHEST PAINS AT HAPPY VALLEY


After experiencing chest difficulties at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, Joao Moreira will miss the Sha Tin meeting on Saturday.

The Jockey Club stewards later announced that Moreira had also been stepped down from this weekend's competition after the Brazilian finished seventh riding Oh Bravo in the initial challenge at the city circuit but was forced to forfeit his remaining eight rides due to discomfort.

The Magic Man was forced to miss a crucial portion of the season because he was trailing Zac Purton by just two victories going into the midweek meeting in his pursuit of a fifth jockeys' championship.

Purton's night at the Valley turned into a frustrating one after his triumph aboard Run The Table in the opening Class Five Cochrane Handicap. With Moreira out, Purton would have hoped to eliminate his deficit in the championship event by the end of play (1,650m)

Run The Table showed a respectable turn of foot for the grade to win by a length and a quarter as Purton, who was always well-positioned just off the pace, waited until halfway down the Valley straight to unleash him.

Francis Lui Kin-wai, who had gone two meetings without winning before this triumph, won the five-year-old race for the 53rd time this season.

With Winning Icey taking first place in the Class Four Gage Handicap (1,200 meters) under replacement Luke Ferraris, Moreira missed out on at least one victory on the evening. However, Purton's three second-place finishes ensure that the Brazilian still leads with seven meetings remaining.

After pursuing Derek Leung Ka-chun home twice in the first half of the match, Purton would have grown tired of seeing his behind by the end of the meeting.

In the Class Four Hong Kong Young Industrialists Council 30th Anniversary Cup (1,000 meters), Purton rode the heavily backed $2.5 favorite See U Again, but while maintaining a strong position early on, his mount never seemed to pose a threat to Sergeant Pepper, who easily won the race.

Leung was content to ride the four-year-old in the lead and outran Purton's steed by a length and a quarter as they approached the finish line.

Leung's double couldn't have been completed in a more contrasting manner than when he rode Bulletproof to victory in the Class Four Graham Handicap (1,650m).

Being last early on, Bulletproof had a lot of work to do to catch up to Blissful Star, who was being ridden by Purton. Purton must have believed he was on track to ride his second winner of the evening when the horse kicked clear in the home straight.

Ricky Yiu Poon-fai, the trainer of Bulletproof, has now had at least one victory at the previous nine meets as he wraps up the year strong.

Ares, who finished just over a length behind Cigar Buddies in the Class Five Elgin Handicap (1,200m), was ridden by Purton as well. The winner, who bolted out of the gates like a bullet, never relinquished an early advantage.

On another race, Family Folks defeated Lucky Sweynesse in the final Class Two Staunton Handicap, giving Michael Chang Chun-wai his biggest victory of the year (1,200m).

Caspar Fownes is less than a month away from giving up his title as champion trainer, but he persevered with a double in an effort to finish the year strong.

Following Winning Icey's earlier triumph, Fownes struck again when another promising youngster, Nicconi County, won his second race of the year in the Class Three Lyndhurst Handicap (1,200m).

The three-year-old was started from stall one by Vincent Ho Chak-yiu just off the pace, and he maintained good form to hold off Yo Beauty's late challenge by a neck.


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