By Hans Ebert

There just might be life left in the race for this season’s Hong Kong Jockey Premiership. With The Zac Attack leading by five winners as heads are turned for home and Joao Moreira behind him, tonight might be one of those rare Happy Valley meetings where the Brazilian magic man pulls more than a few rabbits out of his sombrero. Well, that’s the thinking of a number of Hong Kong racing pundit nehrus who’ve been bending our ear for the last couple of days.

Though having set and broken record after record when riding at Shatin during his years here, this same level of success has eluded him at the idiosyncratic city track. Perhaps his mojo turns into a mojito? But looking at his book of rides and with the weather gods finally smiling down on Hong Kong after almost a week of gloom, doom and Thunderclap Newman, and with the Brazilian themed Actione De Carnivale again at full flow, tonight could be the day when all the omens point to everything coming together and the magic returning.

Though we all know about the uncertainties of horse racing like the absolutely horrendous ride on raging favourite Ocean Waltzer at Ballarat on the weekend by that great talker and PR man Craig Williams, below with film producer George Lucas, Joao Moreira has some decent horse power and good barrier draws.

This is not to say that The Zac Attack will be in siesta mode. Though none of his rides leap off the page, you can bet that he’ll be out there in the thick of things, especially, we believe, in the second, fifth and last races. We’re tipping at least 3-4 Moreira-Purton quinellas are on the cards.

Away from Batman and Flash, there’s particular interest in the battle between Matthew Poon and Derek Leung for the coveted Tony Cruz Award which is given to the most successful local rider.

Though the Poon Train was derailed for a number of meetings, it’s been gathering steam in recent weeks though we have to admit being big fans of Team Derek and expect him to go very close to winning the second race tonight with Deal Maker (8)

The Poon Train might have been firing on all cylinders during his time in Adelaide, but there’s a huge difference between there and here. Some times trains just don’t run on time.

It’s something apprentice Alfred Chan, another of those furious hustle and bustle riders who’s due in Hong Kong at some stage next season and currently going through the same type of apprenticeship as the Poon Train did in Adelaide, will have to go through. Looks excited, doesn’t old Alfie?

It’s a very steep learning curve and one which now retired female rider Kei Chiong struggled with and reasonably new apprentice Victor Wong back in Hong Kong also needing time to adjust. Indentured to the Tony Millard yard, he’s still very much a work in progress.

Often, only having weight allowances isn’t enough. Perhaps even gaining experience riding in places like Morphetville and Port Lincoln isn’t enough?

In an ideal world, it would make sense to have these riders gain experience under the mentoring in Victoria of a Darren Gauci or a David Hayes. The big question, however, is just how much support would they receive from owners? And to just go around on no-hopers doesn’t do anyone any good.

It will be interesting to see where a very talented young rider like Derek Leung will head to during the off season. Possibly, one hears, to the stable of Andreas Wohler, below, in Europe and where a few decent rides might be waiting for him. Hope so.

As for tonight, very seldom having interest in the first two races other than to listen to highly excitable and verbose caller John Blance, who apparently will return to Angleterre and a new gig, our stats show that the third race- the first leg of the Six Up-usually throws a curve ball and wipes out most players of the popular exotic bet.

Frankly, we’ll probably end up taking the field in races 3 and 4, but to those without that kind of play money, we’ve narrowed things down to this:

Race 3

Beaut Beaut (2)
I’m The Conquist (1)
Oriental Elite (10)
Lucky Lucky (7)

Race 4

As Joao Moreira hardly ever rides for Tony Millard and is on Sichuan Boss, the beaten favourite at its last start when handled by an inexperienced apprentice who might have got overly excited, we’ll put him on top. Joao Joao should be able to lead on him at a leisurely pace and get him back to where he belongs: The winner’s stall.

Sichuan Boss (2)
Megatron (9)

Win For Charity (4) and as a real roughie Glory Star (12), trained by Frankie Lor and ridden by The Plunger- Ben TH So, who has a remarkable record spanning almost a decade of popping up when least expected except for those very much in the know, much like Sidney Poitier in “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner”.

Race 5

For those who can’t spell, on top is Insayshable (4). Others with undeniable claims are Doctor Geoff (1), another enigmatic type from the also enigmatic trainer Tony Cruz, Litterateur (2) and then, well, who knows?

Race 6 is another tough race with us liking Dragon Power (2), Dream Come True (5), Healthy Luck (1) and General Iron (6). Liking and getting it right are two very different things. Ok?

Race 7 has Douglas Whyte on another Iron horse- Iron Boy- and with him getting down to ride the horse a few pounds over and a number of his mates from Perth in town led by leading trainer and the devilishly handsome Simon Miller, pictured below, this could win without surprising and be Whyte’s good thing for a Big Night Out.

Eagle (6) who’s been tipped many many times and been beaten might go better at Happy Valley. One other to consider is Double Valentine (10).

The magic man and The Zac Attack have no rides in this race. Weird or what?

The last race rarely sees the favourite winning so it might be best to be a bit adventurous and go for some value- Intrepic (10) Don’t Miss (6), High Volatility (9), and throw in probable favourite Sam’s Love (12) with Moreira aboard.

And so, lights, cameras and- ta dum- The Carnivale Of Actione!

#HKracing #HappyWednesdayHK #JoaoMoreira #ZacPurton #horseracing