Purton edges closer to 170-win mark
The five-time champion needs only 22 wins to break Moreira’s feat in a single season
HONG KONG Zac Purton continued a relentless march towards Joao Moreira’s record of 170 wins in a single Hong Kong season with a treble at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
With 11 meetings left, the five-time Hong Kong champion jockey has snared 149 wins – only 21 to equal and 22 to break the Brazilian’s record set in the 2016/17 season.
Riding three winners and more a meeting is nothing new to Purton.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, the record appears within the Australian’s reach.
He holds a commanding 69-win lead over Vincent Ho (80) in the 2022/23 jockeys’ championship.
He saluted on The Runner, Golden Luck and Seasons Wit to accelerate his charge towards history.
He remains steadfastly focused on Moreira’s benchmark after taking his Hong Kong career tally to 1,580 – a figure bettered only by 13-time champion Douglas Whyte’s 1,813 victories.
“It’s not enough,” said Purton with a smile, after sealing his latest treble before praising Seasons Wit’s performance.
“He was in a good barrier and he got out of the gates well enough to take advantage of it and stalked the speed and it all fell for him,” he said.
“He’s only a young horse, he did a good job. Jamie (Richards) has done a good job with him.”
A three-year-old by Capitalist, Seasons Wit was having only his fifth start in Hong Kong, after winning a Morphettville maiden in Adelaide in 2022 as Eros.
The horse was then trained by Anthony and Sam Freedman.
Richards is confident the gelding can continue to improve.
“He’s found his form, he’s racing consistently and he was the beneficiary of a nice draw,” said the New Zealander.
“He stalked the horse to beat and got over the top of him late. He’s a young horse on the way up and he’s certainly racing very well.
“He is going to continue to improve next year as well. He’s only a three-year-old, and I’m looking forward to the future with him.
“He’s a nice, young sprinting horse.”
Purton was at his best atop the Jimmy Ting-trained The Runner in the Class 4 Hong Kong Institute Of Certified Public Accountants 50th Anniversary Cup Handicap (1,200m).
He then teamed up with Manfred Man’s Golden Luck to snare the first section of the Class 4 Sze Mei Handicap (1,200m).
Tony Cruz took training honours with a double with Circuit Elite and Superb Capitalist.
Circuit Elite posted his third success over the course and distance with a dashing mid-race move to clinch the Class 5 Tai Yau Handicap (1,800m) to give Ho his 80th victory of the season.
Superb Capitalist clung on for apprentice Angus Chung to take the Class 3 Tseuk Luk Handicap (1,200m).
In the closest finish of the night, Gallant Crown (Derek Leung) fended off Beau Gosse by a nose to land the first section of the Class 4 Sheung Hei Handicap (1,650m).
It was trainer Tony Millard’s sixth victory of the season. – HKJC