In an extraordinary display of excellence, Zac Purton once again stamped his authority on Hong Kong racing, posting a personal best seven wins to dominate at Sha Tin on Sunday and take an iron fist over the 2022/23 Jockeys Championship .
On an incredible day, Purton’s career record of seven was underlined by Harry Bentley’s hat-trick on the 10-run card, while Benno Yung took practice honors with a Danny Shum hat-trick and John Size, who both landed doubles.
But it was the ‘Purton Show’ with its three unranked rides – Campione (fourth), All Is Good (fourth) and The Irishman (fifth) – all finishing in the top five as a token of consistency and ambition to elite.
After just nine meetings, Purton have collected 21 wins – more than double nearest rival Vincent Ho (nine) – and in the absence of Joao Moreira and Karis Teetan, the Australian maestro is relentlessly heading for a sixth championship.
“It was good, all the horses ran well. I had a few there that let me down a bit, but you can’t be too picky – it was a good day,” Purton said. “Seven wins is good.
“It’s good that the coaches and owners support me. I had some nice horses today, but you still need the right barriers, track bias, tempo – all those things – in your favor and you need the horses to show up on the day.
“It’s not easy, but I guess when it falls into place, it feels good.”
Moreira, who is sidelined with a hip problem, holds Hong Kong’s all-time record for most wins in a single meeting with eight wins from 11 races in Sha Tin on March 5, 2017.
Surpassing his previous best effort of six wins in a meeting – a feat he has achieved four times – Purton continued a stellar start to the season while building a stunning 26.58% success rate.
Revered for his ability to navigate the tricky contours of Happy Valley, Purton has excelled at Sha Tin this season, producing at least two winners per meeting in each of the site’s five meetings so far for a total of 18 wins from 48 rides in a stunning winning strike. rate of 37.5%.
With four of his previous sextuples materialized in the 2018/19 season, Purton dominated from the start on Sunday with only Harry Bentley (three wins) able to break the Aussie’s unflinching mastery.
Yung provided three of Purton’s winners to complete his first hat-trick in over three seasons, while the reigning champion jockey also successfully combined John Size (two wins), Jimmy Ting and David Hayes.
Bentley’s highs were peppered throughout Purton’s reign, initially triumphing over Danny Shum-trained Majestic Star in the Class 1 Egret Handicap (1200m, dirt) and twice subsequently eclipsing the Aussie.
“Majestic Star is obviously a very good quality horse and he has form on the All-Weather so we knew it was going to suit him well. From a wide draw we found ourselves sitting three but he was traveling so strong that I couldn’t really do much about it,” said the Englishman.
“He took me through the race extremely well and once I pushed the button he picked it up very well for me.”
Bentley, 30, repeated the feat after Purton prevailed in five of the first six races, stalking Purton on favorite All Is Good (fourth) and fending off Wide Blue Yonder to clinch the Class 4 Sea Eagle Handicap (1400m) to again disrupt the Australian ascendancy.
Bentley closed the meeting in great style as he propelled Packing Victory across the line in a desperate finish to clinch the Class 2 Swan Handicap (1400m) for Danny Shum.
“It’s a good step to get my first hat-trick here in Hong Kong and to do it here in Sha Tin and in some really good quality races, it’s fantastic. Danny was fantastic and I really appreciate that. he stood by my side – it’s good to have winners on the board, it’s good for confidence,” Bentley said.
Purton’s incredible ride began in the opening race with a gaping victory atop Benno Yung’s Yes We Can in Class 4 Flamingo Handicap (1650m, dirt) – the first leg of a double for the jockey and the trainer, who were again in the forefront with Fiery Diamond in Class 4 Heron Handicap (1200m, dirt).
Beaten to fourth over Campione in the Class 1 Egret Handicap (1200m, dirt), Purton resumed a dominant role atop Sunny Baby in the Class 5 Kestrel Handicap (1400m) for David Hayes.
“With his racing style he needs luck and a good race and he got both from Zac today,” said Hayes, who leads the Coaches Championship with nine wins.
Purton’s reign continued with the ultra-impressive debut of Beauty Eternal, which overcame the odds before soaring to victory in the Class 4 Peacock Handicap (1200m) for John Size.
Unreleased and a trial winner in Australia where he was known as Teamyouessa, the Starspangledbanner gelding lingered at the start and covered ground before claiming an increasingly wide two-length win over Regency Bo Bo, seven times winner of Hong Kong.
“He raced very well and he was disadvantaged by the bad draw (gate 14), he covered a lot of ground and still won pretty well, so you should be happy with how he started his racing career. and hopefully he can improve that,” Size said.
“He came out of it brilliantly and passed his first test well. It’s just one race and as he progresses we can determine where he will go in life. I’m satisfied today.
A perfectly timed run to the top of Handsome Twelve in the Class 3 Chinese General Chamber of Commerce Cup Handicap (1650m, dirt) left Purton a shy of his personal best of six winners in a single meeting in Hong Kong.
Purton duly clinched a sixth-place finish over Man Star in the Class 3 Chinese Country Club Challenge Cup Handicap (1200m, dirt) for Jimmy Ting before heading into uncharted territory with a ground-saving run on Erimo in the class 3 Spoonbill Handicap (1400 m).
The Hong Kong races continue at Happy Valley on Wednesday evening (October 12).
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