Zac Purton has officially secured the 2013/2014 Hong Kong Jockeys’ Premiership after riding a winner at Sha Tin yesterday.
Purton has had the Premiership wrapped up for almost a month, but his win on Hit A Home Run in the High Autonomy Handicap (1400m) meant that it was mathematically impossible for premiership rival Joao Moreira to catch the Australian hoop, despite Moreira riding four winners at Sha Tin yesterday.
Purton’s victory ends the dominance of Douglas Whyte, who has won the Hong Kong Jockeys’ Premiership for the past 13 seasons, and the in-form hoop requires four winners at Sha Tin this Sunday to break Whyte’s record for the most wins in a season that he set during the 2005/2006 racing season.
“It has been a long and hard battle for the jockeys’ premiership, but I enjoyed it,” Purton told The Hong Kong Jockey Club.
“Racing in Hong Kong is very competitive and I am happy to win my first championship here.
“I will continue to try my best to break Whyte’s record on Sunday and I will come back with confidence next year for the back-to-back title bid.”
While Purton is still hopeful that he will be able to break Whyte’s record, he admits that he will need to be at his very best and will likely need a bit of luck to better the mark of 114 wins.
The race card for Sha Tin’s Sunday meeting will not be released until tomorrow, but Purton is expected to have a full big of rides although he is unsure about the quality of the horses that he will be riding at this stage of the season.
“It’s a record for a reason and it won’t be easy,” Purton told The South China Morning Post.
“Most of my trainers have put their horses away for next season, so I don’t have the firepower at the last two meetings to be confident of getting the record.
“Even the last few weeks that’s been the case, i’ve had to zig and zag a bit and work with whatever I could get.”
Purton won the Hong Kong Vase (2400m), The Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) and the Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m) in Hong Kong last year and he returned to Australia to steer Sacred Falls to victory in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.