Luck to the dirt

Touch Of Luck
Touch Of Luck gets his breakthrough win under Purton.

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.