By Hans Ebert

It’s horse racing’s answer to “Duelling Banjos”. A duet of “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better”. Butch and Sundance. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Batman and Superman.

We mention how it’s “The Zac And Joao Show”, but have to wonder how many who follow horse racing, especially those in Hong Kong, think just what a privilege this is- this ongoing competition between two of the best riders in the world who always push each other to raise their game.

The Australian Zac Attack and the Brazilian Magic Man will never admit it, but these two very different personalities need each other to push them to raise their game. And Hong Kong racing needs them.

Hong Kong racing without either Zac or Joao? We had this for a season when the Magic Man went off to try his luck riding permanently in Japan. Without him here, a very important part of the Big Picture was missing.

Often, there’s the feeling that we take these two world class riders for granted. How it’s almost expected that each consistently ride three and four winners at every race meeting.

At Shatin today, Zac Purton rode the first two winners of the day- and rode each winner brilliantly, but completely differently. Same with his other wins. This included taking out the Standard Chartered Champions And Chater Cup aboard Exultant.

Not being any shrinking violet, Joao Moreira returned serve with four winners of his own. One was a brilliant ride to come off the pace and along the rails to win on the Caspar Fownes trained Defining Moment.

At the end of the eleven race card, The Zac And Joao Show had taken control of eight of the races. Each had ridden four winners.

Here’s something else to consider: The Zac Attack was a non-runner in two of his races. His ride in the seventh suddenly reared up in the barriers knocking his rider down and took off. Purton was left nursing a sore head and neck.

It was the race before taking his ride on Exultant and things didn’t look good. But what do we know? The rider took a breather behind the barriers, seemed to think things through, probably put it down to mind over matter and went on to the business at hand and go on to win on Exultant.

It underlined what a subtly tough jockey he is. He just doesn’t make a song and dance about it and sing, “Pump it up, pump it up” to the peanut gallery.

In the penultimate race of the day, The Zac Attack was dislodged from his ride. Instead of crying off and going home, he took his place in the next race and came third in it.

The Zac And Joao Show: If anything is worthy of being billed as The Greatest Show On Turf, this is it.

Long may it run.

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