In an extraordinary display of excellence, Zac Purton has again stamped his authority on Hong Kong racing, posting a personal-best of seven wins to dominate at Sha Tin on Sunday and take an iron-grip on the 2022/23 jockeys’ championship.

On an incredible day, Purton’s career-high of seven was underscored by Harry Bentley’s treble on the 10-race card, while Benno Yung took training honours with a treble from Danny Shum and John Size, who both notched doubles.

But, by any measure, it was the ‘Zac Purton Show’ with his three unplaced rides – Campione (fourth), All Is Good (fourth) and The Irishman (fifth) – all finishing in the top five as a gauge of elite consistency and ambition.

After only nine meetings, Purton has tallied 21 wins – more than doubling the haul of nearest rival Vincent Ho (nine) – and in the absence of Joao Moreira and Karis Teetan, the Australian maestro is forging relentlessly towards a sixth championship.

“It was nice, all the horses ran well. I had a couple there that let me down a little bit, but you can’t be too picky – it’s been a good day,” Purton reflected. “Seven wins is good.

“It’s nice that the trainers and the owners are supporting me. I had a couple of nice horses today but you still need the right barriers, the track bias, the tempo – all of those things – in your favour and you need the horses to turn up on the day.

“It’s not easy, but I suppose when it comes together, it certainly feels good.”

Moreira, who is sidelined with a hip issue, holds Hong Kong’s all-time record for the most wins at a single meeting with eight victories from 11 races at Sha Tin on 5 March, 2017.

Exceeding his previous effort of six wins at a meeting – a feat he had achieved four times – Purton has continued an outstanding start to the season while building a stunning winning strike rate of 26.58%.

Revered for his ability to navigate Happy Valley’s tricky contours, Purton has excelled at Sha Tin this season, producing at least two winners per meeting at each of the venue’s five meetings so far for a total of 18 victories from 48 rides at a staggering winning strike rate of 37.5%.

With four of his previous six-timers materialising in the 2018/19 season, Purton dominated from the outset on Sunday with only Harry Bentley (three wins) able to snap the Australian’s unstinting mastery.

Yung provided three of Purton’s winners to post his first treble in more than three seasons, while the reigning champion jockey also combined successfully with John Size (two wins), Jimmy Ting and David Hayes.

Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (12 October).


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