Runaway Hong Kong jockeys premiership leader Zac Purton has his eyes firmly glued on the Longines Hong Kong International Jockeys’ Championship title to be decided at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Purton is on track to end the thirteen year reign of champion South African rider Douglas Whyte as Hong Kong’s number one rider and is currently on forty wins, double his closet rival Olivier Doleuze on twenty wins with Whyte on nineteen.
With the world’s top jockeys in Hong Kong to contest the International Jockeys’ Championship as a lead up to Sunday’s huge Hong Kong International race day, Purton will have to be at his best to win the title after drawing an even mix of rides.
“It looks like I have a mixed bag but you never know. I probably had a better book of rides last year and couldn’t get it done but what’s on paper is not always everything in racing. It’s great to be part of it and ride against some legends of the game,” Purton told the Hong Kong Racing News.
“The competition’s tough and if I can win one (race), I’ll be pretty happy.”
Purton, who was runner-up on debut in the 2012 Longines International Jockeys’ Championship after he’d won the World Super Jockeys Series in Japan, is riding in rare form and continued the flow of winners with a treble at Sha Tin on Sunday night.
Top young rider Keith Yeung and Whyte will join Purton as Hong Kong’s representatives to take on the best jockeys in the world including British champion jockey Richard Hughes, Kerrin McEvoy, Christophe Soumillon, Mirco Demuro and Ryan Moore as well as legendary USA riders Mike Smith and Gary Stevens who are fresh from Breeders’ Cup successes.
Purton’s public stoush with Whyte earlier in the year has motivated the Australian jockey to end the reign of the South African and become the leading jockey after riding in Hong Kong for seven years.
Purton is also looking forward to teaming up with top trainer John Moore in the four Group 1s on Longines Hong Kong International Race Day at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Moore will saddle up Frederick Engels in the HK$15m Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m), Xtension in the HK$20m Longines Hong Kong Mile (1600m), Military Attack in the HK$22m Longines Hong Kong Cup (2000m) and Dominant in the 1 HK$15m Longines Hong Kong Vase (2400m).