Jubilating in his second Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup triumph after Werther’s 2017 success, Bowman said: “I didn’t have a plan, he’s (Russian Emperor) a mile and a half horse and the one trap I didn’t fall into was to be out there to beat Romantic Warrior because he’s a class horse. I had to trust that it (2400m) would find him out and that’s exactly what happened.
“He bounced well from a good gate (five), I had a good run and I could come into it at my leisure without coming into it trying to challenge the favourite – I came in to allow my horse to run his race. Douglas prepared him superbly. He’s had a wonderful season, the horse, as has Douglas, and he was just there as the right horse on the right day.”
Purton claimed Romantic Warrior would have won if Money Catcher, who finished fifth, had not pressured him at the 800m, also citing stamina issues.
“He (Romantic Warrior) showed today it’s (2400m) not his favourite distance, but he tried bloody hard – he was gone at the 600m,” Purton said. “Coming into the straight, Money Catcher actually headed me and I thought he was going to drop out, and to his credit, he tried as hard as he could. It was just not his distance.
“We had no choice but to lead. We played our cards and he would have won the race if he didn’t get taken on half a mile from home.”
Five-time Hong Kong champion Purton endured a rollercoaster day – firing a quartet atop Super Bonus, Stoltz, Circuit Mighty and Red Lion and finishing second in four other races – and broke his own record for the most prize money (HK$235,054,535) won in a single season, surpassing his previous mark of HK$234,989,515 set in 2018/19.
“It’s been a good day but it’s also been a little frustrating with four winners, four seconds so I was thereabouts,” Purton said after boosting his season’s tally to 142 wins.
Purton struck first with Pierre Ng’s Super Bonus, who swept to victory in the Pakistan Star Plate for Griffins (1200m) before slotting his 140th win of the campaign when Stoltz returned to form in devastating fashion with success in the Class 2 River Verdon Handicap (1000m) for Francis Lui.
“Luckily Zac didn’t have a horse to ride in this race, so he was able to ride him again. He jumped well and Zac is the champion,” said Lui, who also teamed with Vincent Ho to land the Class 4 Makarpura Star Handicap (1200m) with Moduleconstruction.
Purton’s treble came aboard Manfred Man’s Circuit Mighty in the Class 4 California Memory Handicap (1400m) before he made it four with Red Lion’s triumph in the Class 2 Vengeance Of Rain Handicap (1400m) in tandem with John Size.