The deficit remains confronting, but Zac Purton breathed life into flickering hopes of a successful jockeys’ championship defence with a stunning quintet at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (3 March) to capitalise on Joao Moreira’s suspension.
Posting his first five-timer for the 2020/21 season, Purton cut Moreira’s margin to 25 after triumphing on Wood On Fire (Peter Ho), Hurry Hurry Gain (Frankie Lor), Ever Force (Danny Shum) and John Size pair Wealthy Delight and Wind N Grass.
It is the eighth time Purton has registered five wins at a Hong Kong meeting and the first time he has accomplished the feat since 6 May, 2020.
Such was Purton’s dominance, only four other jockeys savoured success on Wednesday night – Alex Lai (All Best Friends), Vincent Ho (Nunchuks), Alexis Badel (Dynamic Eagle) and Karis Teetan, whose mount Farshad denied Purton, aboard hot favourite Savaquin, a sixth win on the final race of the nine-event program.
Chasing his fifth jockeys’ title, the Australian boosted his tally to 70 – still well adrift of Moreira (95), who is serving a two-meeting suspension for careless riding, with 37 meetings left in the season.
“It was a nice night, I had a few opportunities and a little bit of luck,” Purton said.
“Luck goes a long away. It’s not easy to do (to ride five winners), just to ride one winner in Hong Kong is hard to do.
“Hopefully things can start to roll along a bit more. I’m not doing anything different – right place, right time – that’s all.”
Ever Force, a lightly-built son of Toronado, registered a second successive win with a gritty effort in the second section of the Class 4 Matheson Handicap (1200m), drawing praise from Purton.