Michael Cox



Zac v Joao: ‘White-anting’ support and double wins in the jockeys’ championship

Trainer support is once again a defining factor in the race for the Hong Kong jockeys' premiership.

10 race card at Sha Tin, turf "C + 3" course, Sunday July 10

Zac Purton: 131 wins

Joao Moreira: 129 wins


There are a couple of givens when it comes to the way Zac Purton and Joao Moreira speak about the jockeys’ championship: each will always claim underdog status, no matter the situation, and they will always talk about trainer support being key. 

The former is puzzling, perhaps a throwback to each jockeys’ humble beginnings, but the obsession with support from trainers is well-founded in history.

If Zac Purton is to lift the championship trophy on July 16 we will look back at the wins he has secured from Moreira’s supporter John Size as a major factor. 

With three meetings to go in the season, Purton has ridden 12 winners for Size, up from four wins last season. That only ranks equal fourth among trainers he has won most races for (Francis Lui 21 wins, Frankie Lor 17, Tony Cruz 13) so the statistic might not seem crucial but each win for Size is one less for Moreira. 

Looked at it in this way, Purton’s wins for Size are worth ‘double points’. When Douglas Whyte held off Brett Prebble by two wins in 2009-10 the horse that made the difference was Super Satin. Whyte was Size’s man, but secured the Super Satin ride from Prebble’s main source of wins, Caspar Fownes. Super Satin is remembered as the 2010 Hong Kong Derby winner but the five races he won for Whyte, and denied Prebble, were the difference in the jockeys’ championship. 

There isn’t a defining horse for Purton but the white-anting of Moreria’s base through riding successfully for Size has certainly been key.


Zac Purton and John Size celebrate the conclusion of the 2018-19 racing season on Season Finale Raceday at Sha Tin. (Photo by Lo Chun Kit /Getty Images)

THE KEY MATCH-UP: Race 7, Class 4 (1400m)

Joao Moreira: 5. Rockpaperscissors 

Zac Purton: 6. Tycoon Jewellery

Purton only gets one shot at a win with Size on Sunday as the two top jockeys square off in Class 4 on two horses of similar profile: gradually improving four-year-olds coming off encouraging seconds at their third start. Moreira has a draw that will likely see him forced to come from last with the rail out in the ‘C + 3’. Purton gets a chance for a win with Size on Tycoon Jewellery, a half brother to Size’s former standout Sun Jewellery. 

ZAC'S BEST: R6 No. 1 Let's Do It

Let’s Do It needed a class drop and last start nearly succeeded at his first try in Class 4. Purton gave Let’s Do It every chance but they bumped into a rampant Chevalier Prince. Let’s Do It was second but with close to two lengths to spare on third. 

JOAO'S BEST: R10 No. 7 Keefy

The final race of the day looms as Moreira’s best chance, Keefy for Frankie Lor. Moreira’s support from Size might be waning late in the season but he has picked up the slack with Lor; they have had 24 wins together this season and combine twice on Sunday.

Keefy has jumped from tricky gates at his last two starts but from barrier five will be able to take up a position more comfortably. 


Progressive horses are a rare commodity at this time of the season so both jockeys are scrounging. Purton has a couple of key rides – Let’s Do It and Tycoon Jewellery are great chances – but it is Moreira with the edge at Sha Tin on Sunday. 

Zac Purton v Joao Moreira, July 10

Zac PurtonJoao Moreira
Race 1Happy WonForever Friends
Race 2Wisdom PatchHappy Tango
Race 3Turbo PowerProud Dragon
Race 4Flying MightyEl Valiente
Race 5California VanesValhalla
Race 6Let's Do ItPresident's Choice
Race 7Tycoon Jewellery Rockpaperscissors
Race 8Reve Parisien-
Race 9Call Me TeddyElon
Race 10Captain WinKeefy



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