Zac Purton, representing Hong Kong, claimed the HK$800,000 LONGINES International Jockeys Championship title for the first time and at the fifth time of asking, courtesy of two wins in the first and third legs of the series. In doing so, he saw off the spirited challenge of UK representative Silvestre de Sousa, with French champion Pierre-Charles Boudot, who took the fourth leg, taking third spot on the podium.
This was a popular local victory – of sorts – for Purton, who has a large fan base among Hong Kong racing fans. He has been riding here since 2007, was champion jockey in the 2013/2014 season and has more than 750 victories in his Hong Kong career to date.
However, he was ranked among the outsiders in Jockey Challenge betting and was at one point rated a 25/1 chance for victory, well behind favourites Ryan Moore, Boudot and reigning champion Hugh Bowman.
The opening ceremony for the LONGINES International Jockeys Championship had barely closed with a fanfare of fireworks, before minutes later Hong Kong’s Purton lit one of his own when driving home Our Hero to take out the first leg of the Championship for trainer Danny Shum. Settled in mid-division, Purton produced Our Hero with a telling run in the stretch to hold off Silvestre de Sousa and See Me Now by a short-head, with Moore on the Richard Gibson-trained Forever Posh taking third spot a further neck away.