Lee praises Purton's 'gem of a ride'
Zac Purton produced a gem of a ride to win on notoriously difficult Solar Mighty and trainer Almond Lee Yee-tat was happy to hand him the kudos.
'All credit to Zac - I told him the same things I told Glen Boss about the horse last season and he was able to win two races on him,' Lee said.
'He is a difficult horse, he needs pace on in his races or he pulls and he lays out. When he drew the outside barrier, I said to Zac that if he was on the outside of horses, I wouldn't be able to help him when the horse laid out but he gave him a great ride. He isn't what you would call a reliable horse but he does have good form on the dirt.'
Solar Mighty was the second leg of a double for Purton after Exploding's victory early in the day, and the Australian said he and Lee had agreed he would have to ride the horse for luck.
'Almond gave me a great rundown on the horse's traits before the race and it sounded like he had more bad habits than Amy Winehouse,' Purton said.
'But it was all helpful to know and actually, once we made the decision to go back and bury him away like that, he switched off and travelled OK with the pace on. He certainly knows how to finish a race off when it all goes right for him.'
Lee said Solar Mighty had been a cheap horse when he purchased him at the Sydney Easter Sale as a yearling but there had been good reason for that.
'He was lot number one, there was nobody there yet and I was able to buy him cheap,' said Lee, who has now guided Solar Mighty to winnings of almost US$2 million. Purton's win on Exploding for trainer Peter Ng Bik-kuen and owner Hung Yat-fai continued his good association with the pair, and he has proved to be Mr Hung's lucky jockey, with this his second win on Exploding and he has also won on Expeditious, but the race had an unfortunate post script when the gelding bled.
'It's a shame that Exploding bled because he's been a consistent horse - he just gives everything he's got and tries so hard. He's shown a lot of courage to win with a bleeding attack, but I didn't feel anything wrong and maybe it happened after the race finished,' he said.
'I'm sorry to see it happen to Mr Hung because he's been one of my best supporters but hopefully after a break the horse will come back OK.'
The bleed will force a three-month ban from racing for Exploding.