ZAC Purton won his second Group one at Sha Tin on Sunday when Beauty Only scored a win for the locals in the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile.
The five-year-old was presented in the straight by the Australian hoop and the $5.90 second favourite at CrownBet never looked like being beaten as they came to the line.
The Tony Cruz-trained five-year-old made its run along side race-favourite Able Friend down the outside of runners, but not before Purton shunted fellow Australian Hugh Bowman (Helene Paragon) back into a pocket which turned out to be a winning move.
My bloke, if anything, was just off the bit struggling to maintain its spot during the run,” Purton said.
“Unfortunately for us Hughie Bowman tried to push out at the 700 metre mark, I was trying to hold my spot, but I didn’t have the horse at that point to hold it, so he pushed me three-four wide around the corner and made me go a little bit early.
“But to square up with Hughie, I pushed him back in behind a horse that was stopping.
“Took care of that, set sail and that was the end of him.”
Purton stated the hard track conditions suited Beauty Only which has improved significantly this season.
“The firm ground suited, the harder the better for him and so did the good speed. We know he does his best now if we let him balance up early,” Purton said.
“He was really good. I think we’re just starting to see the best of him. He’s always been so honest but now that he’s fully matured and acclimatised we’re really seeing what he can do.”
Despite being put back into a pocket, Hugh Bowman and Helene Paragon sprinted late to finish second. The John Moore-trained colt was heavily-backed during the week despite poor form this campaign, but it lived up to punters’ expectations.
“I was held up when Zac made his run but I still felt I had the horse to peg him back because he had done a bit more work than I had and I knew my horse would finish,” Bowman said.
“Look he was too strong late and, although I was held up for a few strides, I had plenty of time. He has a bright future and he will be a headline horse here in Hong Kong.
“He’s run a hell of a race. The winner got the better of us last time. I’ve had an uninterrupted run this time compared to last time but he’s just come up short.”
Joyful Trinity held off multiple challengers to finish third at place odds of $4.50 for Gerald Mosse returned to Hong Kong after riding in Australia for the Perth Carnival.
In fourth was Contentment which had some supporters at double-figure odds of $15.40 and the six-year-old showed it still has something to offer on the big stage.
The disappointment of the race was $3.10 favourite Able Friend which loomed to make a run in the straight with Joao Moreira in the saddle, but it was quickly rounded up by Beauty Only.