Wind Damper ends Purton's unlucky run
Zac Purton's dry run slipped under the radar to some extent with the Australian fighting out plenty of finishes in the past month, but that was all the more reason he was smiling after Wind Damper's debut win.
It was Purton's first victory since the International Mile Trial on Fellowship on November 22 and minor placings - not the least of them Fellowship's Hong Kong Mile third last Sunday - had been frustrating the jockey.
'I think I've had half a dozen or more close seconds in that time, so I was around the money and you only need one or two to win and it keeps you ticking over,' he said.
The Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained three-year-old finished strongly to beat Power Return by a neck in a performance that showed he had come on since his trials.
'He has improved every day since he arrived at the yard,' Yiu said. 'I couldn't be confident of him in his first start because I knew he had to improve in a few areas, but I knew he had ability.
'Even now, I'm not altogether sure what we have - you had one of the favourites scratched today and the time was not that fast, so maybe it wasn't a strong race.'
Purton had seen mixed merit in Wind Damper's first two trials, but his most recent had shown considerable improvement to run on and win in the same style as this victory.
'He really sprinted well the last 200m on the third trial and I suggested to Ricky he might be better running over 1,200m,' Purton said.
'But Ricky wanted to keep him doing what he was doing in the trial and didn't want him going around a turn yet. As usual, he was spot on with his judgment.'