Australian jockey Zac Purton is maintaining his momentum in the Hong Kong jockey’s premiership with a four win haul at Sha Tin on Saturday.
Purton has skipped to a five win lead over twelve times premiership winner Douglas Whyte with thirty-nine wins for the season so far.
But Purton’s night was not all rosy with the top jockey suffering from painful cramping which nearly forced him to retire from the meeting.
“I started cramping up pretty early in the day, it was the worst cramps I have had in a long time and I contemplated pulling the pin,” Purton said.
Purton puts the cramps down his wasting over the last couple of days which saw him trim back from 130 pounds to ride at 119 pounds after returning following Christmas and a short holiday in Thailand while suspended from riding.
“I had a two-week break and coming off the back off Christmas it was harder to get the weight off.”
But Purton persevered, riding through the pain and was rewarded with four winners on the night.
“I’ve been sweating every day since then, so by the time I got here I was pretty drained and empty,” Purton said.
“I had a two-week break, and coming off the back off Christmas – I just got flabby and it was harder to get the weight off. I’ll be right now that I am back in the groove – it was really tough today though. Taking that much fluid out, that’s when you do cramp up, so I’ve only got myself to blame.”
Purton started off the night in winning fashion by taking out the first race on Hurry Hurry Up for trainer Caspar Fownes and made it a winning double for the stable later on smart sprinter Windicator Star.
Purton also scored on Mr Ginger for Danny Shum and wrapped up the incredible night with a win on Racing Hero for Andreas Schutz.
Mr Ginger gave Purton a pretty tough ride after missing the start and over-racing in the middle stages.
“He doesn’t break the gates well, and you have to urge him to get running, then he overdoes it. Then when horses come around him he changes legs and rolls around everywhere,” Purton said.
“On the plus side, he is very honest and he was in for the fight.”
Purton also gave a glowing report to Fownes after scoring an easy win on Windicator Star.
“He jumped so well he could have gone to the front,” Purton said.
“He is a machine, he is one of the best movers I have ever ridden.”
Purton is in a better position than Brett Prebble was in 2009 – 2010 season to end the long reign of champion jockey Douglas Whyte if he can stay injury free and keep riding multiple winners for the rest of the season.