Purton in demand by Japanese trainers with four rides

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 June, 2010, 12:00am

In-form jockey Zac Purton (pictured) has been paid a high compliment by local owners and trainers going into tomorrow's Yasuda Kinen meeting at Tokyo's Fuchu racecourse.

Purton's main goal is to partner Paul O'Sullivan-trained Fellowship in the main event, but the Australian has also picked up four outside rides on the card.

That is in complete contrast with most first-time visiting jockeys in past years, with even internationally-renowned riders like Felix Coetzee and Weichong Marwing struggling for even a single outside mount.

'It really is a nice compliment. Japan is one of the great racing centres in the world, I've seen a lot of great races from here on the television and to be riding here at all is exciting, but I'm really pleased to have other rides on the day as well,' said Purton, who is coming off his three-timer at Happy Valley on Wednesday night and into new territory on the Tokyo course.

'I've walked it this morning and got a feel for the track, the undulations down the back and in the straight. It looks like there's a good grass cover on it too. And having other rides on the day - I think three of them are before the Yasuda Kinen - that's definitely going to help me to know where I'm going by the time the main race comes along.'

Purton said his confidence in Sunday's race grew when he saw Fellowship yesterday. 'I was a bit worried coming over. They'd said he was nervous and sweating a lot and had lost a lot of weight, but now that I've seen him I'm a lot happier.'

O'Sullivan said he felt the main issue for Fellowship was his highly-strung nature. 'If the day gets to him and he doesn't produce his form then it's going to be hard to win, but if he handles the day, then I think he'll run well.'

Fellowship was weighed again yesterday, with his body weight gaining a further 10 pounds since Thursday.