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Zac Purton chases elusive Hong Kong Classic Mile triumph

January 31, 2024 at 4:27:16 AM

Zac Purton has won every big race available in Hong Kong – nearly.

The HK$13 million Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m) is the only major Hong Kong contest to elude Purton and this Sunday (4 February) at Sha Tin he rides Helene Feeling in a bid to complete the set.

Zac Purton has won every big race available in Hong Kong – nearly.

The HK$13 million Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m) is the only major Hong Kong contest to elude Purton and this Sunday (4 February) at Sha Tin he rides Helene Feeling in a bid to complete the set.

“I’ve always focused on trying to win the Derby and put more importance on a horse that has a little bit more stamina who would be able to peak on the big day and overlooked the Classic Mile,” Purton said.

Purton has won 33 out of Hong Kong’s 34 principal feature races. 31 of these carry Group status, while the remaining three comprise the HK$52 million Four-Year-Old Classic Series, which kicks off with the Hong Kong Classic Mile before the HK$13 million Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) on 3 March and HK$26 million 147th BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) on 24 March.

Helene Feeling is trained by Danny Shum and is a two-time Class 2 winner. The Irish-bred placed in the HK$4.2 million G3 January Cup Handicap (1800m) at Happy Valley last start.

“The race has fallen away a little bit. There’s a few horses in there with quite low ratings and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of depth to it. The horses that stand out are going to be pretty hard to hold out – Helene Feeling has been racing fairly consistently,” Purton said.

\Purton won twice aboard Helene Feeling last season, closing that term with a success over this weekend’s course and distance.

“He seems healthy, so we’ll see what we get and where he is at,” Purton said. “His better form is probably at Happy Valley compared to Sha Tin. Although, he has managed to win at Sha Tin as well, I rode him. He’s capable but the weekend will show us where he is at.”

Purton’s closest result in the Hong Kong Classic Mile came aboard Garlic Boy in 2013, who finished second to Gold-Fun by a neck. The Australian has placed third three times in the race aboard Dibayani (2014), Beauty Generation (2017) and Packing Treadmill (2023).

Moving to 61 wins this season with a six-timer last Sunday (28 January), Purton holds a 21-win lead over the second placed Karis Teetan (40) in the 2023/24 jockeys’ standings.

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