Jockey Zac Purton continued a stellar 24 hours across Asia at Sha Tin today (Sunday, 27 May), snaring the G3 Sha Tin Vase Handicap (1200m) aboard the Tony Cruz-trained Winner’s Way to make it a four-timer from the first six races.
Purton picked up a pair of Singaporean Group 1 wins at Kranji on Saturday night (26 May), taking the Kranji Mile on Southern Legend and the Singapore Guineas on Mr Clint, and brought that rich vein of form from the Lion City back to the New Territories.
“I don’t mind a bit of silverware, it’s been a good 24 hours,” Purton said with a grin.
It was Winner’s Way’s first Group victory and his maiden win this season. Last term, the Starcraft five-year-old had recorded four victories to progress to the cusp of stakes company, but while he had often run well this season, he had been unable to break through in 10 starts.
Before a last-start disappointment, though, he had finished third at set weights in the G2 Sprint Cup (1200m) behind Beat The Clock and Mr Stunning, form that translated well to today’s handicap. Accordingly, he was heavily-backed to take the Sha Tin Vase, firming from 4.1 to 2.4 to start a hot favourite.
“His run two starts back against our better sprinters here was a fantastic effort, while last start, things didn’t go right, he missed the start in a slowly-run race,” Purton said, while Cruz added: “He was too keen after missing the start, it was a forgivable effort.”
Settling beyond midfield on the rail, Purton had to urge Winner’s Way (123lb) along at times as Fabulous One (113lb), on the speed, upped the ante through the middle stages. Unleashing a potent turn-of-foot between runners, Winner’s Way grabbed Fabulous One in sight of the 100m before holding off the late burst of Born In China (119lb) down the outside to score by a length.