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Purton lands Happy Valley treble to hit 70-win mark for 12th straight season

February 29, 2024 at 4:36:34 AM

Marching towards a seventh Hong Kong jockeys’ championship, Zac Purton passed the 70-win milestone for the twelfth consecutive season with a treble at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (28 February) to extend his lead over nearest rival Karis Teetan to 22.

Marching towards a seventh Hong Kong jockeys’ championship, Zac Purton passed the 70-win milestone for the twelfth consecutive season with a treble at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (28 February) to extend his lead over nearest rival Karis Teetan to 22.

Hong Kong champion jockey in 2013/14, 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20, 2021/22 and 2022/23, Purton continued his advance towards Douglas Whyte’s all-time record of 1,813 wins with success on Palace Pal, Raging Blizzard and Beauty Infinity.

Purton’s treble left him with a career total of 1,682 Hong Kong victories, a tally second only to 13-time champion Whyte’s, as he bids for an eighth consecutive century of winners in a season with 38 meetings left this term.

“Seventy (wins) is a nice mark, but 100 is better – 100 is the barometer,” Purton, 41, said. “If you get to 100, you’ve had a good season. I need a few more wins – I’m just ticking over.”

Purton bettered 70 wins in a season for the first time in 2012/13 and has managed the feat in every season since, setting a Hong Kong record of 179 wins last season.

The Australian’s adventurous ride on Palace Pal in the Class 5 Sai Kung Handicap (1800m) for David Hall was rewarded with easy victory after a well-timed mid-race move to surge to the lead proved decisive.

John Size’s Raging Blizzard presented Purton with a smooth passage in clinching the Class 3 Rotary Centenary Challenge Cup Handicap (1200m) before the 12-time champion trainer again teamed with Purton to win the first section of the Class 4 Tsuen Wan Handicap (1200m) with the impressive Beauty Infinity.

By Toronado, Beauty Infinity gave Size a double and lifted the master horseman into third place in the trainers’ championship with 34 wins behind Pierre Ng (49) and Francis Lui (37).

Jerry Chau collected a double, who provided with David Hayes his 25th win of the season with Samarkand’s driving victory in the Class 4 Sheung Shui Handicap (1650m).

Chau also combined with Benno Yung’s impressive Super Joy N Fun to clinch the second section of the Tsuen Wan Handicap (1200m) to remain unbeaten after two starts.

“He’s a nice horse. The first half (of the race) he fired up and got keen. Lucky nobody challenged him and that gave him a chance to settle a bit. That was a help,” Yung said. “He’s only three years old and has a lot of improvement.”

Alfred Chan posted his third win from his past eight rides when Sugar Sugar overwhelmed Captain Win to snare the second section of the Class 3 Kwai Chung Handicap (1200m) to give Caspar Fownes a race to race double.

Fownes, who now has 1,096 Hong Kong victories, also struck with June Planet, who sustained a strong finish to cut down Outgate in the final stride to land the Class 3 Tsing Yi Handicap (1650m) as Teetan slotted his 50th win of the campaign.

Luke Ferraris notched his eighth win in tandem with Mark Newnham this season when Tactical Command landed the Class 5 Tai Po Handicap (1200m) before Dennis Yip’s Lean Master triumphed under Harry Bentley in the Class 4 Fanling Handicap (1000m).

Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Sunday (3 March) with the running of the HK$13 million Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m), the second leg of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series.

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