Zac Purton returned a favour at Happy Valley late on Wednesday night (8 July) to keep Tony Cruz in the frame for the champion trainer title.
With front-runner Ricky Yiu enduring an evening of misfortune and his closest pursuer Francis Lui forced to settle for a pair of seconds, third-placed Cruz closed the gap when Purton steered Golden Spectrum to success in the finale, the Class 3 Conduit Handicap (1800m).
The nine-race action ended with Yiu static at the top of the premiership on 64 wins, one ahead of Lui, and Cruz on a creeping 61 with only two meetings – 20 races – left in the season.
“Tony picked this horse out for me after his last run to try and help me and as it turned out I could be helping him,” Purton said, having completed a double to extend his advantage in the jockeys’ premiership to a practically unassailable eight wins.
“It might be too late for Tony but he’s still going to come strong and his horses are always there to win – he certainly knows how to handle them and get the best out of them so you can’t underestimate him.”