Purton's found the one he's waited a lifetime to find
HORSE RACING: Glen Boss had Makybe Diva, Malcolm Johnston had Kingston Town, Hugh Bowman has Winx.
When racing tragics reminisce about the greatest thoroughbreds of all time, often the image of their jockey also comes to mind.
A hoop's legacy can sometimes be defined by their greatest horse.
Zac Purton rode superstar gelding Beauty Generation to victory in the Group 1 Stewards Cup at the weekend at Sha Tin, Hong Kong.
The win was the fifth in a row for the partnership, and their eighth together in 14 attempts.
"He has to be the best (I've ridden) and his international rating says that,” Purton said of the six-year-old.
"Viva Pataca was the best I had ridden, I can't remember what his rating was but it certainly wasn't the 127 that Beauty Generation has.”
Purton said the gelding, who is by Australian sire Road to Rock, has two qualities, which separate him from the competition; toughness and nerves of steel.
"He has a lovely action but a lot of horses have a lovely action,” he said.
"What makes him special is he's just a winner. He's had some injury problems but he runs through pain and always delivers.
"I also find with the great horses they are able to handle the pressure more comfortably than others.
"Horse racing is just like football, you can look like a superstar coming up through the grades but once you're up with the big boys at Group 1 level it's a different game.
"Group 1 horses don't make mistakes, they're all very good... and he's the best.”
Purton, 36, said he had a sense of invincibility when he climbed into the saddle of Beauty Generation, a feeling he doesn't take for granted.
"I've waited my whole life to find a horse like this and I finally have,” he said.
"I'm very grateful and privileged to have found him because some jockeys never do.”
The connections of Beauty Generation are targeting the six-year-old for a 1400m race in February before a Group 2 over 1600m in March.
If all goes to plan, the John Moore-trained gelding will then attempt to defend his Champions Mile crown in April.
Unfortunately, a dream match-up with wonder mare Winx looks like it will never happen, at least in Australia, due to quarantine reasons.
"Horses from Hong Kong have to spend six months in another country, like New Zealand, before they are allowed into Australia,” Purton said.
"So it's just not viable at this stage.”
Beauty Generation has won more than $8.5million in prizemoney and claimed four Group 1 victories.