It was a jovial Vagner Borges who headed for home after Friday morning’s barrier trials at Sha Tin, the Brazilian boasting a spring in his step ahead of six rides at Happy Valley on Sunday.
The 28-year-old will be looking to build on his victory aboard the Frankie Lor Fu-cheun-trained The Elites at Sha Tin on Wednesday, his third for the term.
“It was a nice win. In his last race he ran a good second so it was always going to be easy,” Borges joked.
Borges teams up with the in-form Lor again on the weekend, partnering We The South in the
Class Three Zhaoqing Handicap (1,000m) after saluting aboard the five-year-old in the same race at last season’s Valley day meeting.
We The South drops in grade and has been competitive in two Class Two starts under Borges this term, including a three-quarter-length fourth behind Super Wealthy down the Sha Tin straight.
“I like this horse because of what he has been able to produce in Class Two and now he’s in Class Three, so I think he can win on Sunday,” said the Brazilian jockey, adding that he is focused on fostering his relationship with Lor. “He told me I need to be working more for him and he gives me good support.”
Borges also acknowledged the need to be working with as many trainers as possible and he has his fifth ride of the season for the in-form Jimmy Ting Koon-ho, who sits equal second in the trainers’ premiership with Lor, just one victory behind leader David Hayes.
Borges will pilot last-start winner Momentum Galaxy for Ting in the Class Three Zhuhai Handicap (1,200m) and hopes he can get the best out of the horse after taking the reins from Derek Leung Ka-chun.
“This horse had a good win in his last race, of course it was Class Four and now he is in Class Three, but he has raced well in Class Three and I think he has a good chance,” he said.
One trainer Borges already has a strong bond with is 11-time champion John Size, who he has ridden for more than any other handler this season.
He jumps aboard Sight Success and Incanto Prepared for Size at Happy Valley and is the only jockey outside Joao Moreira to salute for the master handler this season.
“I work every day for John and he helps and supports me so much,” he said.
Borges rode Zone D and Fantastic Way for Size on a busy morning of trials for the veteran on Friday, with the handler also sending around big guns Waikuku and Courier Wonder as they plot their course towards December’s Hong Kong International Races.
Waikuku was eased back to last on jumping, travelled wide to avoid the kickback and worked home down the middle of the track to finish sixth, while Courier Wonder sat midfield on the rail early before coasting home in third.
“It was a normal trial for [Waikuku], that’s what he does – he just rolled around. I think he’s healthy and well, he’s in good shape,” Size said.
“[Courier Wonder] seemed fine. He seemed pretty relaxed. He’ll run [in the Group Two Jockey Club Sprint] on the 21st.”