Zac Purton will climb aboard two of John Moore’s gallopers at Sha Tin on Wednesday night (12 June).As well as Buddies in the Class 3 Lido Handicap (1650m), the Australian ace will also get the leg up on the Moore-trained Touch Of Luck in section one of the Class 4 Tong Fuk Handicap (1650m). The gelding transferred to Moore from Chris So this spring and Purton was in the plate for a breakthrough score under Moore’s watch in a 1600m turf contest late last month.
“He didn’t begin clean, so he was a little bit further back than I thought I’d be, but I got a nice run through the field and he closed it off well. Hopefully he’s taken a bit of confidence out of that,” Purton said.
The rider is not concerned about the switch to dirt track racing for the Hong Kong International Sale graduate, a son of the top-class dirt track galloper Hard Spun.
“He should handle it ok,” Purton said, “he’s always trialled well on it so that’s normally a pretty good indication of how they’re going to handle it under race conditions.
“He was a little bit keen in his work,” he continued, “he’s been a little bit like that throughout his career but going into his last run I only ever galloped him on his own and he was a little more relaxed. But I galloped him with a partner a few days ago and he was a little bit more stirred up than what he normally would be. But the horse feels good and he should be a chance.”
Purton has had the best season of his career to date and landed his 1000th Hong Kong career win on Saturday as he powers towards a third Hong Kong jockeys’ championship.
“I don’t think (next season) I’ll be able to hit the milestones I had this season and to win the amount of races and the races that I’ve won. It would be very hard to do that again, so it will be a season I’ll forever remember and one that I will look back on fondly,” he said.
Wednesday’s Sha Tin action starts at 7.15pm with the second section of the Class 4 Tong Fuk Handicap (1650m).
The eight-race card also features the Class 2 Butterfly Bay Handicap (1200m) in which KOR Group 1 Korea Sprint runner-up Fight Hero, now trained by Michael Chang, will shoulder top-weight. The field also includes that galloper’s former stablemate, the Me Tsui-trained course specialist Ugly Warrior, as well as last start winner Fortune Booth and last season’s Champion Griffin, Pick Number One.