Zac Purton arrived at Happy Valley on Wednesday night knowing that he must maintain his impressive momentum if he is to stand any chance of surpassing Moreira’s record of 170 wins in a Hong Kong season. A double during the evening took his tally to 166.
The Australian was sharp off the mark, snaring the opener, the Class 4 Kings Falcon Handicap (1000m), on the Jimmy Ting-trained Aquila. Then came a stunning ride on High Rev in race five, the Class 4 The King Handicap (1650m).
High Rev and Zac Purton, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
The champion jockey advanced the 2.3 favourite from second-last at the 800m mark to lead a shade past the 600m pole. The David Hall-trained galloper rolled on powerfully and stormed down the home straight to register an eased-down six and three quarter-length verdict.
“I just thought it’s been hard to make up ground tonight. It didn’t look like there was a lot of speed in the race, even though they rolled along nicely enough, and I decided I’d rather take my chance on a horse that I knew would be strong to the line and see if he could stay – he certainly did!” Purton said.
The rider sealed a sensational six-timer at Sha Tin last Sunday and will need to do something similar this weekend with a five-timer required if he is to set a new benchmark.
Ricky Yiu’s Lightning Treasure (121lb) battled through some shunting and bumping to win the the Class 4 Bulldozer Handicap (1200m). Derek Leung’s mount scored by a neck from the Alfred Chan-ridden Fantastic Fabio (123lb) after that horse shifted into the winner, which in turn lugged back close home. An objection and a fairly lengthy inquiry ensued but ultimately Fantastic Fabio shared second place with the Purton-partnered Lady first (133lb).
Speedy Wally secured his fifth Happy Valley win and his fourth over the track’s 1650m when taking the Class 5 Street Cat Handicap. The Caspar Fownes-trained eight-year-old enjoyed a sweet run under Moreira and scooted two and a quarter lengths clear.
Karis Teetan took his season’s total to 81 when the Tony Cruz-trained Hong Kong Bet carried top-weight to a smart success in the Class 3 Let Me fight Handicap (1000m).
Dylan Mo was stood down with a back complaint after race two and Matthew Poon made the most of the pick-up ride on Play Wise in the Class 4 Maverick Star Handicap (1650m). The Dennis Yip-trained gelding broke his local maiden at start 20.
Hong Kong racing continues with the 2018/19 season finale at Sha Tin on Sunday, 14 July.