Purton and Ng building up a successful partnership
Fresh from the biggest victory of his career in Sydney on Saturday, Zac Purton had to make do with a 'little fish are sweet' policy at Sha Tin, but Exploding continued to build the Australian's good relationship with Peter Ng Bik-kuen's yard.
Purton was coming off his Group One Epsom Handicap win at Royal Randwick on Theseo, but while it wasn't exactly a Group One standard book waiting for him at Sha Tin, he got the job done on the one the punters picked as the strongest of his chances for the day.
Purton has done his fair share of riding for Ng and yesterday was not the pair's first winner together, but it was a tough first victory for Exploding, a rising five-year-old who has really taken his time in putting things together after looking very weak and very limited.
Exploding sat wide around the leaders in the Lion Rock Handicap (1,200m) on the all-weather before outgaming Viento to score narrowly, and the son of Marju gives the impression his best days are ahead.
'He was a May foal in the Northern hemisphere, so a very late foal,' pointed out Ng. 'Towards the end of the last season, he was showing some improvement with maturity and I think he has continued that over the summer break. He isn't limited to the dirt - he has already been placed at Happy Valley, so I will have some options with him.'
Purton said he had ridden the horse when he first arrived in Hong Kong a year ago and had quickly dismissed the gelding.
'In all honesty, I put the pen through him then - I thought he wasn't very good,' Purton said. 'But he has got stronger with time and his form improved with that. He still does a bit wrong so there could be some more to come with him, and he gives you the impression that he isn't really going to be a pure sprinter. It's probably too soon now but I think he'll handle a mile later.'
Zac Purton has combined with Peter Ng to notch three wins from 35 starts at a strike rate of: 8.5%