Treble puts Moreira on par with Purton

A treble at Sha Tin yesterday saw Joao Moreira levelling up with Zac Purton on 117 wins apiece in the Hong Kong jockeys' championship table.

Purton did not go back empty-handed, booting home a winner. The Australian had led by two winners going into yesterday's meeting. There are 16 race days left in the season, which ends on July 15.

"Zac can't say he's going to be the winner and neither can I, because we don't know what's going to happen in the next couple of weeks and months," said Moreira of his season-long wrestle with the reigning champ.

Moreira kicked off the 10-race card with a straightforward success on the Caspar Fownes-trained Sky Gem in the Yung Shue O Handicap over 2,200m. That took the Brazilian to within one winner behind Purton.

But the Australian regained his two-win advantage in Race 4, section two of the Class 4 Wong Ma Tei Handicap over 1,400m. In the bobbing of heads, he got the David Hall-trained Classic Posh to beat Moreira's Heza Beauty by a short head.

Moreira nabbed his second win aboard the John Size-trained Picken, who earned a fifth success at his 28th outing, winning by a 1/2-length in the Class 3 Sham Chung Handicap over 1,400m in Race 9. That put Moreira back to only one behind.

The Douglas Whyte-trained Inner Flame bounced back to the winning list in the final event - the Class 3 Pak Sha O Handicap over 1,200m - to put Moreira on par with Purton.

Inner Flame had won his first three races before running a dismal race last start. A two-month break brought him back on the winning path.