Double joy as Purton's season just gets better
Zac Purton landed one of his longest-priced doubles of the season with Strathtay and Samadhi to reach the half century of winners and crept out to a worthwhile lead over Brett Prebble in the race for second in the jockeys' championship.
With the David Ferraris-trained Strathtay at 42-1 and Manfred Man Ka-leung's Samadhi at 54-1, Purton was hardly a pin-up with the punting public - with the possible exception of whoever had an all-up running on his mounts that saw long-shot King's Pact in the final race open up at 5-1 - but was happy to get something out of a day when he lacked much confidence.
'I had one or two chances but generally I didn't have high expectations so it's nice to get out with a double and I think 50 wins or more has to be regarded as a pretty decent season,' Purton said. 'I didn't quite get there two years ago, then I got 53 last year and I've still got plenty of time left for this to be my best season.'
Douglas Whyte is long gone for the title again but Purton, who has improved his tally in each of five terms here, now has an eight-win buffer over his compatriot Prebble in a season which has highlighted his consistency until he started falling foul of the stewards recently and collected three careless riding bans.
Samadhi, an Adelaide two-year-old winner, had not been closer than 10th in his four runs in Class Three. However, Purton said Man had given him a little confidence for the gelding's first run in Class Four.
'His form looked nothing on paper but Manfred actually gave the owners a small push before the race to say that he thought he would run a better race,' Purton said.
Key to the improvement was clearly an inside draw, as Samadhi's finishing positions have almost exactly mirrored his barrier positions - including yesterday's result.
'I had gate one and he was able to use it and he travelled well most of the way, then he showed that he had done his early racing going the other way and he's still got a few things to iron out,' Purton said. 'When he got on to the corner at the 800m, he wanted to lug out with me, though it ended up working in his favour because he got himself into a good position. He got there with a bit of purpose in the straight so I think he'll be OK when he does start doing everything right.'