Rivals Purton and Teetan double each
Duo will be joined by Matthew Poon and Vincent Ho in the Longines International Jockeys' Championship
Premiership pacesetters Zac Purton and Karis Teetan went blow for blow at Happy Valley on Wednesday night with two winners apiece, so the jockey's title status quo was maintained with reigning champion Purton, now on 30 wins, leading the challenger on 27.
No surprises there - other than Purton's second winner Green Luck started at 29-1 which would have been an extraordinary bonus for his loyal followers.
This was the longest-priced winner he's ridden all season and the least market fancied for more than six years, since he won on 31-1 chance Groovy, in June 2012, for Dennis Yip who landed a double for the night, as did Green Luck's trainer Caspar Fownes.
Fownes also prepared Race 1 winner Smart Baby, the first leg of Purton's double, and was denied a treble in the final race, by just a neck, by the Yip-trained Starlight, who provided Umberto Rispoli with his 100th winner in Hong Kong.
But, for all that and no doubt the double winners and the popular Italian Rispoli had good reason to be happy with the night's proceedings, it's probable that none would be happier than local jockey Matthew Poon, who secured the final spot in the Longines International Jockeys' Championship.
He did so, sitting at home, as he's currently suspended. Chasing rivals Chad Schofield and Douglas Whyte failing to ride a winner to match Poon's tally of 14 for the season, the 24 year-old gains the final of four places allocated to Hong Kong-based riders.
It will be his first IJC appearance. He joins last year's winner Purton, Teetan who debuted with a dead-heat for ninth in last year's event, and Vincent Ho, who finished fifth, in 2014, at his only appearance.
Fownes said he was not surprised by the long-odds win of Green Luck, who was racing for the third time in Hong Kong after winning two races in Queensland, Australia.
"He's a bit of a character, this horse," said Fownes, of Green Luck. "He's a bit of a lad who wants to do it his way and he has a few quirks but I said to Zac (Purton) before the race 'he's got an engine' so it was no shock at all that he was able to win.
"He won like a nice horse tonight and he'll pay a price in the ratings but I think he's a chance to go on with it."
Purton produced a superb, ground-saving ride to win on the long shot Green Luck. From gate 8, he snagged behind his rivals to settle well back on the fence and then worked his magic to weave a path between horses on straightening.
It was not dissimilar to Teetan's effort on the Tony Cruz-trained Gold Land in the preceding race. Gold Land settled midfield on the fence and the Mauritian jockey elected to wait for the fence run which finally, but very narrowly, came inside the eventually third-placed Association Fans.
Keetan's first win was more straightforward with Fantastic Fabio leading throughout in the Class 4 Jackson Handicap. Some might have lamented the rain which began to fall before this event but not the jockey who looks destined for his best-ever season.
"I think the rain helped him. I pressed him to get to the front but then he relaxed like he was really enjoying it. He felt really good and was full of running right to the finish," said Teetan. - HKJC