More Group 1 success for Zac
HONG Kong's biggest day of international racing proved another triumph for former Coffs Harbour jockey Zac Purton.
A brilliant front-running ride on Aerovelocity delivered victory in the HK$18.5 million G1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) for New Zealand trainer Paul O'Sullivan.
Adding to the pleasure was seeing rival rider Douglas Whyte relegated to second.
Whyte was the jockey whose 12-year stranglehold on the premiership was broken last year by Purton, elevating him into the world racing stratosphere.
Purton's ride was full of dash.
He bounced Aerovelocity into the lead and settled in front of Australian hope Buffering.
On the corner, the brakes were released and that was the end of discussions.
"At the furlong marker he wanted to hang in and get up on the fence, which is a trait of his," Purton said.
"He wanted to do it more so today than he had done previously, so I was a bit worried that he was going to take the fence on, rather than go forward.
"I managed to keep him off it enough and keep him going forward and it was a tough effort.
"It wasn't the plan to go and lead but when you jump that well and the opportunity is there, you have to take it.
"I have led on him previously and he can be ridden like that, so I wasn't worried about it.
"It took him about a year to settle in here and as you can see he can be a bit of a head case."
The jockey almost made it a Group One double but was forced to settle for second on Military Attack in the G1 Hong Kong Cup, won by Designs On Rome.
"My horse ran great but the winner's a very good horse and there were no excuses," Purton said.
"He just got us today."
In the third of the majors, Purton finished fourth on World Ace in the G1 Hong Kong Mile.
"He was slow out of the gates but I had a nice ride afterwards and had every chance."
"He seemed a bit one-paced at the furlong pole but then finished on strongly."