The Fat Lady may not be singing just yet, but she is cueing up her aria after Zac Purton all but sealed his second Champion Jockey title with a double at the penultimate meeting of the Hong Kong season tonight (Wednesday, 11 July) at Happy Valley.
Purton’s brace aboard the Danny Shum-trained Charity Wings and Saul’s Special for Michael Chang took him to 135 wins for the season, with rival and defending champion Joao Moreira moving to 131 after drawing first blood aboard the Caspar Fownes-trained Letsgofree in the opener.
With Purton successful in the event of an overall tie, having ridden nine more second-placed finishers than Moreira, the equation heading into the 11-race Season Finale at Sha Tin on Sunday (15 July) sees Moreira needing to ride five more winners than Purton if he is to pull off an improbable victory.
Still, Purton himself was not ready to declare the race over.
“It’s not over until it’s over. I’m in a nice position, no doubt, but there are still 11 races to go and Joao has a nice book on Sunday,” Purton said. “I still feel that I’ve got to ride at least one winner, two would be fantastic, and we’ll just see what happens. I want the post to come, that’s for sure.
“Joao’s had the better books of rides for the last month, so I’ve been coming to a few of the meetings just trying to weather the storm. Tonight, I thought we had a balanced book of rides, as I did at the weekend, and to ride one more winner than what he did and just to extend the lead a little bit further is pleasing.”