RACING enthusiasts and bettors are in for a treat this afternoon as Hong Kongs Happy Valley hosts its final meeting of the season.
But forget about all the entertainment, games and music, celebrating the end of another exciting year at the inner-city track – this is all about the Joao Moreira and Zac Purton show, two prize-fighters slugging it out to the bitter end.
With just 19 races left of the 2017/18 season – including eight races this afternoon – Purton (133 wins) still leads the Magic Man (130 wins), in the race for the jockeys title.
You can guarantee there will be plenty more drama, twists and turns, before the season closes at Sha Tin on Sunday.
This has been great news for both punters in Hong Kong and the UK, as the main protagonists have traded blow for blow, or winner for winner, over the last couple of months.
Take last Sunday at Sha Tin, for example. Both Purton and Moreira rode four winners apiece from 11 races, sending their gleeful followers home happy with wallets bulging with cash.
Three-time champion jockey Moreira, who is desperate to add another championship to his CV before departing HK to pastures new in Japan, looks set for a couple of early winners when he rides Letsgofree in the opener at 12.15, and Sichuan Boss in the 1.45.
Later in the afternoon, its interesting he deserts last-start winner Gunnison in the feature race, the Class 2 Sun Jewellery Handicap over six furlongs at 3.15pm, in favour of Frankie Lors lightly-raced but potentially exciting SOLOMONS BAY, a former three-time winner for Roger Varian back in the UK.
The Moreira-and-Lor partnership has been a goldmine for punters this season, with the combination landing the top prize on 13 occasions, including last Sunday with Speed Vision.
This flashy Exceed And Excel gelding couldnt cope with the black-type-destined Hot King Prawn on only his second start over the track and trip last month, but nevertheless displayed enough ability when a fast-closing fourth to suggest he will be a major force in better company next season.
A recent impressive trial under the guidance of Moreira at Sha Tin eight days ago will have put him spot-on for this contest, and with the early speed likely to be fast, he is mapped for a dream journey from a positive draw.
Solomons Bay 3.15pm Happy Valley