By Hans Ebert
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And so, the end is near and as the curtain falls on another season, the question is who will do it- “it” being win for us- so that we can head off for a good break, decide if life changes are needed, and the mind map needed to be drawn up to make these happen.

Honestly, the Moreira-Purton “battle” holds no interest to us unless it has to do with ending up on the winning side of the ledger. Sure, we appreciate and respect the talents of two great competitors, and Hong Kong racing fans will never see another champion like Joao Moreira, who is not only a brilliant horseman but an incredibly charismatic and likeable personality, but we follow horse racing to win. To profit. Having said this, it’s tough to say Goodbye to Joao Moreira.

We’ve been spoilt by his exploits and charmed by his communications skills. Racing in Hong Kong just won’t be the same without Joao Moreira. As we’ve said here many times, one cannot replace the irreplaceable. Plus one doubts that even Zac Purton would disagree that the mercurial Brazilian and champion jockey for three seasons forced him to up his game and which has made him the world class jockey he is today.

Despite what sophomoric limerick writers might tweet on Twitter, it’s only after playing second fiddle to Moreira for three long years and watching him turn the Hong Kong Jockey Premiership into a procession has the Zac Attack come out firing on all cylinders like Django unchained.

Next season, starting off without Joao Moreira around is a non-starter. The others who will be leaving or never quite measured up is no loss. Some were lucky to have not been tapped on their shoulders and told not to bother applying for a license earlier. No matter what stopgap measures are brought in, it’s all very temporary and won’t be the same.

Then again, who knows whether Joao Moreira will take to Japan and see it as somewhere for him and his young family to call home after his three month contract there is up? If not, hopefully the door is open for him to return. There are plenty of racing fans burning joss sticks that this will happen.

All we can say is, Get back, Joao Joao, get back to where you belong- Hong Kong- and enjoy the best of all worlds.

Tips? With heavy rain overnight, odds that can’t be followed, below are suggestions. And as suggestions, other than maybe taking a Quartet on the first four races, we’d stay well clear of them. They’re low class races with some real non starters and we’ll be spectators until the fifth race rolls around. The races before this are one big yawn and something for Hong Kong’s hardcore brigade who need to bet on something. Desperation? Maybe.

RACE 1

Little Fantasy (10)
Rock The Tree (11)
Cash Courier (13)
Best Effort (2)

RACE 2

Creme Brûlée (1)
Exponents (11)
Superior Boy (5)
Winning Boy (12)

RACE 3

Bullish Glory (2)
Indigenous Star (13)
Po Ching Treasure (12)
Good Fit (8)

RACE 4

Lightning Speed (5)
Complacency (4)
Touch Of Luck (9)
Regency Darling (13)

RACE 5

Have Fun Together (3)
London Hall (8)
Golden Four (12)
Split Of A Second (10)

RACE 6

If there could be a fifth choice, Shining On (12) would go in.
Sunshine Holiday (4)
Red Horse (9)
Picken (5)
Enjoy Life (2)

RACE 7

Last Kingdom (3)
Green Energy (6)
Marzouk (4)
Sleep Education (9)

RACE 8

Rise High (8)
Doctor Geoff (7)
Joyful Trinity (6)
Born In China (1)

RACE 9

Relentless Me (13)
Diamond Rhyme (9)
Home Run (10)
Bold Stitch (3)

RACE 10

It might be foolish not to include the rides of The Dynamic Duo, but sometimes fools rush in where angels fear to tread. This race has all the signs of detonating many bets with the Joker in the pack appearing and making sure everything goes belly up.

Noble Steed (14)
Mighty Maverick (7)
Alcari (5)
Big Fortune (9)

RACE 11

The tote is going to rock anyway as it does on the last race of every season, but this time it will probably take off with the Rocket Man as everyone and their dog backs the Purton-Moreira quinella.

This favourite quinella will more than likely come in, but there two runners here who just might spoil the party and rock the Casbah- Star Shine (8) and the very interesting Attention (14) lurking at the bottom of the weights.
Solar Patch (7)
Star Shine (8)
Heztheoneforus (9)
Attention (14)

BEST BET
Race 8
Rise High (8)

NEXT BEST
Race 10
Noble Steed (14)

LONGSHOT
Race 9
Relentless Me (9)

PARTING SHOT