It's tight at the top as blazing Purton sneaks up on Prebble and Whyte
A second treble for Zac Purton has continued his stellar run of early season form and thrust him towards the top of the jockeys' premiership table with 12 winners from 12 meetings.
Purton now sits just behind Douglas Whyte and Brett Prebble, who share the lead with 14 wins each, and his popularity with punters has never been higher after he drove home two of the good things of the day in Little Bridge ($13.50) and Romantic City ($14.50).
Purton blitzed the Jockey Challenge with his threesome, and his upset win on Takeanotherchance for David Ferraris set the tone for a big afternoon.
'You can turn up to the races with a great book of rides on paper, but it's not often that they all perform and win as they should,' Purton (pictured) said.
'You've just got to make the most of any luck that comes your way, and today everything worked out well.
'Takeanotherchance was a pleasant surprise, he trialled OK and his work has been sharp, but you couldn't come to the track with much confidence about him winning.
'As it turned out he got the perfect tempo, we got a lovely trail three wide with cover and it was good to see him hit the line.'
Purton's other winners were more than expected, as punters opened their wallets and launched into the speedy Romantic City, trained by Ricky Yiu Poon-fai, to send him out a long odds-on favourite.
'Romantic City was much better today than when he ran first-up,' Purton said. 'He was just too fresh last time, and it was good that Ricky was able to give him a trial leading into this race.
'Romantic City is such a strong horse that you just can't hold him when he is fresh, and he just pulled himself into the ground first-up. He was much more relaxed with the fresh edge taken off him and did a good job because he had Sichuan Success breathing down his neck throughout.'
Romantic City ran his rivals ragged to score by three-quarters-of-a-length over Sichuan Success, with debutant True Valour running into third to complete a popular trio.
'I was talking to a bloke who has been clocking horses here in Hong Kong for 20 years last week, and he was telling me he has never seen a quicker horse over the first 200 metres than Romantic City,' Purton said.
'The way he anticipates the jump and just hits top gear straight away he is definitely not going to get led too often.'
Purton had a nail-biting finish on the highly fancied Little Bridge after Matthew Chadwick and the lightly weighted Tony Cruz-trained St Fevre ran the hot favourite to a short head.
Zac Purton has continued his stellar season with another treble, taking him to third in the jockeys' table on (wins): 12