In a fascinating insight into just how highly the Hong Kong Jockey Club values leading jockeys Zac Purton and Joao Moreira, scmp.com reports that the duo could be flown back from Dubai’s meeting on Dubai World Cup Saturday by a privately chartered jet in order to have them ride at Sha Tin on the Sunday.
The move is not unprecedented, with a similar strategy put into place more than 10 years ago.
The underlying reason is turnover, and with the top two placed riders on the Hong Kong Jockey Premiership having ridden almost half of the past 29 favourites in the jurisdiction, the Club wants to ensure punters have the incentive and confidence to put their money down.
Normally – albeit returning jockeys might miss the first couple of races on the traditional Sunday card – catching a plane from Dubai to Hong Kong would not be an issue.
However commercial airlines have slashed flights due to a slump in demand brought about by COVID-19 (coronavirus).