Purton makes history with stunning Hong Kong double
HORSE RACING: Zac Purton wasn't even allowed to ride on the course proper when he first fell in love with thoroughbreds.
Now the former Coffs Harbour apprentice has a strong claim for being the best hoop in the world.
Riding in Sha Tin at the Longines International Meeting, Purton rode two Group 1 winners to equal French jockey Gerald Mosse's record of eight Group 1 winners at the event.
The 35-year-old piloted home Exultant in the Vase (2400m) and Beauty Generation in the Mile (1600m) to cement his place in history.
To make the day even more special, the trainer Purton did his apprenticeship under witnessed it all from the stand.
"It's absolutely great, he's done really well,” Coffs trainer Trevor Hardy said from Hong Kong.
"It's great to be here and see him ride those winners.”
Hardy has been in Hong Kong for the past week and said his former pupil is closer to a celebrity than a jockey over there.
"You go to have a conversation with him and straight away other people will come up because they want to talk to him,” he said.
"He's been in demand everywhere; he's a superstar over here, he really is.”
Purton moved in with Hardy when he was only 14 to fuel his love of horses. From there a beautiful relationship between trainer and jockey was born.
"He wasn't old enough to ride on the track yet but we'd take the horses down to the beach and he'd ride them there.
"He always had the ability to get to the top; he was very good and we had a good association.
"He had everything going for him to make it as a jockey, as soon as he started riding he had great balance and quickness in the saddle.”
Purton is favourite to take out this season's jockey premiership in Hong Kong.