04/18/2017 5:47PM

Hong Kong: Leading rider Moreira has full dance card


Joao Moreira, the runaway leader of the Hong Kong jockey standings this season, has rides in all eight races on Thursday’s program at Happy Valley Racecourse and has chances to win the three $158,862 handicaps that highlight the card.

The final three races at Happy Valley are the most lucrative of the all-turf evening program. Wagering is available on DRFBets.com. Through Monday, Moreira has 134 wins, well in front of closest pursuer Zac Purton with 70.

In Thursday’s sixth race, the first of the handicaps, Moreira rides Wayfoong Vinnie in the King’s Park Handicap at five furlongs on turf. Wayfoong Vinnie, a 5-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding by Elusive City, won a similar race at Happy Valley on March 15 and was a troubled second to Travel Comforts at Happy Valley on March 29.

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Travel Comforts and Wayfoong Vinnie share top weight of 128 pounds in the 10-runner field, which includes the Hong Kong debut of Alcazar, the winner of a minor race on the all-weather track at Newcastle, England, last June.

Wayfoong Vinnie has won twice since the Hong Kong season began in September, while Travel Comforts recorded his first win of the season in his seventh start on March 29.

In the six-furlong Hong Kong Rugby Union Cup, the seventh race, Moreira has the mount on the well-regarded Generous Heart, who will carry 119 pounds. Moment of Power, the 132-pound topweight, is winless in seven starts, but was second by a neck in a handicap on March 8 and a troubled third on March 22 in six-furlong turf races at Happy Valley.

This will be the first time Moreira has ridden Generous Heart, a 4-year-old New York-bred gelding by D’Funnybone. Generous Heart was listed as sold for $105,000 at a 2-year-olds in training sale in Florida in 2015.

Moment of Power was ninth behind Wayfoong Vinnie on March 15, and is expected to be part of the pace.

Moreira rides Wisky in the So Kon Po Handicap at a mile and 50 yards in the final race of the day. Moreira was aboard Wisky for a win on Feb. 2, but did not ride the 5-year-old gelding in his next two starts – a ninth on March 5 and a fourth on March 22.

Wisky is the low-weight in the field of 12, at 115 pounds.

Purton rides Jade Fortune, who was a narrowly beaten second on March 29 and will carry 122 pounds. Fantastic Kaka, the 133-pound highweight, and Land Grant, who will carry 131 pounds, were second and third in a similar race on March 22.