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Barzalona to ride at Sha Tin on Sunday, Teetan returns to trackwork

French jockey Mickael Barzalona will ride at Sunday’s Sha Tin feature meeting as the Jockey Club sweats on the availability of Zac Purton and Hugh Bowman.

Purton tested positive to Covid-19 on the weekend and is in a race against time to take part in the main lead-up fixture for next month’s Longines Hong Kong International Races.

The Australian jockey must test negative on Sunday morning to be able to retain his Group Two rides aboard California Spangle, Lucky Sweynesse and Beauty Joy.

Bowman has been deemed a Covid-19 close contact since arriving in Hong Kong on Sunday, with a family member testing positive, but officials are hopeful he will be available to begin his Hong Kong stint this weekend, one meeting later than expected.

Barzalona will compete in Hong Kong for the first time since last year’s International Jockeys’ Championship, a competition in which he is expected to take part again next month.

While Matthew Chadwick (California Spangle and Beauty Joy) and Matthew Poon Ming-fai (Lucky Sweynesse) are on standby to partner Purton’s Group Two mounts, the potential absence of Bowman as well as the reigning champion jockey – and injured stars Joao Moreira and Karis Teetan – was enough to send officials scrambling for a big-name replacement.

Meanwhile, the Jockey Club has confirmed Teetan has been cleared to resume riding trackwork from Wednesday as he continues his comeback from a thyroid condition.

Teetan has been sidelined since riding a treble on September 18, and while Jockey Club executive director of racing Andrew Harding said earlier this month “it seems likely it will be several more months before he could resume riding”, the Mauritian could be on track to return to the races sooner than expected.

Karis Teetan is on the comeback trail.

One jockey who is expected to be in the saddle at Happy Valley on Wednesday night is Matthew Poon Ming-fai after he was passed fit following a mishap at Tuesday morning’s barrier trials.

Poon injured his right ankle when his mount, Stand Up, broke through the barriers before the third trial, and he was forced to miss his ride aboard Flying Ace in the final heat.

While an examination found the injury to be minor, Poon “will again be assessed prior to the race meeting commencing”.

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