Keefy has emerged as a legitimate Four-Year-Old Classic Series contender after crushing victory in the HK$3.8 million Class 1 Chevalier Cup Handicap (1600m) as Zac Purton set a modern record for the quickest half-century of winners by a jockey in Hong Kong racing history with a five-timer at Sha Tin on Sunday (27 November).
Reigning champion trainer Frankie Lor regained the lead in the 2022/23 trainers’ championship with Keefy’s emphatic victory as Purton sped to 50 winners at only his 184th ride for the campaign, eclipsing his previous best of 50 victories from 219 mounts in 2021/22 – and Joao Moreira’s record of 50 wins from 189 rides in 2015/16.
Striding towards a sixth Hong Kong title with 51 wins at a strike rate of 27.5% after riding in 21 of 22 meetings so far, Purton said: “Things are going nicely, obviously we had a hiccup with a week out with COVID and it’s been a good start to the season. I have a nice pool of support at the moment and some nice young horses coming through.
“When you get all that coming together, it makes it all the more enjoyable and let’s just hope things can carry on the way they are. It’s nice to have a good day and hopefully I can bang a few more in.”
Purton, 39, clinched the record aboard Sweet Encounter in the Class 3 Chevalier Enterprise Digital Solutions Handicap (1600m) after earlier wins on Youthful Ideal, Accelerando and Super Red Dragon.
The Australian, who broke Douglas Whyte’s record on Wednesday night (23 November) for the most wins at Happy Valley with his 574th success at the city circuit, closed Sunday’s meeting with success on Francis Lui’s impressive Packing Treadmill, who earned a HK$1 million PPG bonus by winning the Class 2 Chevalier Healthcare Investment Handicap (1400m).
Purton’s Sunday bag leaves him with 51 wins for the season – 30 ahead of Vincent Ho.