Zac Purton kept tabs on leader Joao Moreira in the jockeys’ premiership with a double on Cheerful Star and Noble Steed at Sha Tin yesterday afternoon (Sunday, 5 January), two days after his 37th birthday.
The Australian’s 50th win of the campaign came when Cheerful Star (120lb) edged the Vincent Ho-ridden God Of Dragon (131lb) in a ding-dong battle for the Class 4 Leighton Handicap (1800m).
His 51st was achieved in the Po Leung Kuk Cup Handicap (1400m) aboard the Francis Lui-trained Noble Steed. Purton is two from two on the Hong Kong International Sale graduate, who held his rivals by three quarters of a length.
Premiership leading trainer Ricky Yiu notched his 31st win this season when Encore Boy landed the Class 3 Hoi Ping Handicap (1200m) under Silvestre de Sousa.
Dennis Yip had a slow time of things through the early part of this season before unleashing four winners in December to accelerate his win accrual, and the handler got his 2020 tally rolling with the Matthew Poon-ridden Trust Me (118lb) in the Class 4 Yun Ping Handicap (1000m).
Ever Strong (132lb) relishes the Sha Tin dirt and notched his fourth win on the surface when taking the Class 5 Ventris Handicap (1200m, dirt) under Vincent Ho. That gave trainer Manfred Man his 10th win this term.
Baltic Whisper (128lb) ended his first Hong Kong campaign back in 2017/18 with two wins from six starts but Danny Shum’s charge had not posted a victory since March of that season until he showed resilience to land the Class 3 Sunning Handicap (1000m) this afternoon.
The six-year-old tried to make all and rallied hard for jockey Grant van Niekerk when headed by Ka Ying Master (120lb), going on to score by a neck at odds of 7/1.