Magic Man Grabs Ladies’ Purse

31st win this term for Moreira - 10 ahead of next rider

Furore (122lb) snaffled the Gr3 Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse Handicap run over 1800m at Sha Tin on Sunday to lead home a one-two finish for trainer Tony Cruz in the HK$3.5 million contest.

The Pierro gelding passed the post a length and a quarter ahead of stablemate and reigning Hong Kong Horse of the Year Exultant (133lb), in a swift time of 1m 45.91s, which secured the two-time champion trainer his fifth triumph in the race.

Furore earns his first win since early 2019 (Pic – HKJC)

Furore’s win was his first since his heroics in the 2019 BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) as a four-year-old.

Despite multiple placed efforts in the highest grade, the six-year-old was without a win from his following 12 runs, and this afternoon’s reward owed plenty to jockey Joao Moreira’s cool, calm and collected ride.

“I actually had in mind that we were going to be a little bit closer in the field thinking that there wasn’t much pace in the race but he didn’t jump very well so we found ourselves a little bit further back,” Moreira explained.

“Halfway through I started to not worry about that anymore though as he started to travel very comfortably, slowly coming closer into the race and I could feel from there on that he was going to be very hard to beat,” the Brazilian added.

The New Zealand-bred stepped away slowly and was trapped at the rear early on but turning for home Moreira asked his mount for an effort at the 400m mark and he responded readily.

“We know he is a good horse and it was just a matter of time until he won another feature race, he’s a nice horse and there is more to come with him,” Moreira said.

Sunday’s win was the rider’s 31st success this season but his first aboard Furore, at his first pairing with the Tony Cruz-trained bay. Moreira has a 10 win lead in the jockeys’ premiership.

“When he ran in the mile race (Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy) it was too short for him. I find he has no (early) speed and I thought Joao (Moreira) would just stay quiet because with a patient race he’s sure to come home with you and he came home pretty good – he had a light weight too,” Cruz said.

Cruz trained three straight Gr3 Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse winners from 2004 while his most recent, in 2018, came with Time Warp who was withdrawn from Sunday’s race contest due to lameness in his right front leg.

“We’ll see how well he (Time Warp) can manage getting back to the races, he needs to trial at least but we’ll see what we can do,” Cruz said.

Cruz though was pleased with the performance of runner-up Exultant who will next run in the Gr2 Jockey Club Cup (2000m) on 22 November as a lead-up before the LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m) on 13 December, the race he won in 2018, while Furore is on a LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) trail.

“I’m very happy with Exultant, he was carrying the top weight and 1800 metres is definitely not his trip but this is a lead-up to the Jockey Club Cup – he will be perfect by then.

“He’s an honest horse. It’s been five months off for him, I’m very happy with his condition this year – he’s a very healthy horse,” Cruz said.

Jockey Zac Purton, who rode Exultant, said: “It was a good run – he’ll improve.”

“Joao (Moreira) will ride Furore and Zac (Purton) will ride Exultant again,” Cruz said in reference to the Jockey Club Cup.

Last year’s winner Southern Legend (129lb) finished in fourth and jockey Neil Callan said: “He ran an alright fourth – I’d have preferred to have something to lead me.”

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