Zac Purton hit a big milestone at Sha Tin this afternoon, Saturday, 8 June. The champion jockey became only the second rider in Hong Kong history to reach the 1000 wins mark when Thanks Forever breezed to an easy success in the Class 3 dash.
“It’s nice, it’s a nice milestone,” Purton said with an understated coolness in contrast to both the heat of the sun-soaked day and the size of the achievement.
The victory took Purton’s tally for the season to 145; the 1000 comes just 10 weeks after he surpassed Tony Cruz’s 948 wins to move clear second on the all-time list. Douglas Whyte is supreme with a final 1,813 wins, achieved across 23 seasons.
It has taken the Australian 12 seasons to compile his ongoing haul. His first campaign, back in the 2007/08 season, yielded 29 wins; his second produced 43; since a maiden century in 2013/14, he has established his position as one of the world’s best, accelerating his win accrual through the past two campaigns with strike rates of 21% and almost 24%.
“A thousand winners is just amazing,” Thanks Forever’s trainer John Moore said. “Zac’s one of the world’s top jocks and to ride the 1000th winner on one of mine was a great thrill for both myself and the stable. Kick on, Zac!”
Purton no doubt will do just that, with Joao Moreira’s all-time single season record of 170 wins enlarging on the near horizon. The soon-to-be three-time Hong Kong champion has nine race meetings in which to secure the 24 wins he needs after ending today with 146 on the board.
The rider nailed win number 1001 aboard the Moore-trained Empire Star in race eight, the Class 4 Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road Handicap (1400m).