Zac Purton started as he meant to go on at Sha Tin Racecourse today, Sunday, 25 March, displaying aggression, poise and rhythmic strength to win the Class 5 opener. He followed that with a barnstorming late-card four-timer to earn five on the day, and with it, impetus in his long, understated challenge for this season’s champion jockey title.
The haul matched the Australian’s five-win return at the track on 13 May last year.
“It’s not a bad day,” Purton said, with an almost-grin and feigned indifference, after his fifth victory on the aptly-named Simply Brilliant (122lb).
That score came in the Class 2 Sapphire Handicap (1600m) and was achieved at the expense of his prime rival, champion jockey Joao Moreira. Purton’s mount responded to every urging in the closing exchange, the son of Frankel edging out the Moreira-ridden Easy Go Easy Win (125lb) by a neck.
“He’s been a difficult horse, hanging in his races and doing things wrong, and he was still quite keen for the first five or six hundred metres today,” Purton said of Simply Brilliant. “Once he relaxed he got into a nice rhythm and I really like the way he fought, he just kept sticking his head out to the line.
“He’s bred to get a bit further but he doesn’t have the brain for it at the moment. He’s a lightly-framed horse and I think maybe next season he could furnish and step up a little bit more.”