Zac attack falls flat on up-and-down day
Zac Purton's day started in the same vein as his recent purple patch of form with a win on second-starter Meridian Treasure, but it soon went pear-shaped when a couple of Danny Shum Chap-shing-trained favourites were dramatic flops.
Meridian Treasure benefitted from a smart and aggressive ride from Purton, whose recent prolific performances have lifted him into second place in the jockeys' championship.
The narrow victory took him to 33 for the term - it was his 12th win in his last 48 rides and 17th from his last 98 efforts - and his confidence showed.
From gate 11, Purton needed to be decisive and he backed himself by going forward, he wound up outside the leader on the Dennis Yip Chor-hong-trained three-year-old and a slow pace played into his hands.
'When you draw wide, you have to make up your mind about what you are going to do,' he said.
The Australian, who is building a formidable combination with Yip - they now have eight wins together this season - described the winner as 'unassuming'.
'When I trialled him, he didn't give me much of a feel and when I work him in the mornings he doesn't either. He has done it two times now on racedays and that's all they have to do,' he said. 'But horses like that can surprise and do more than you expect them to.'
It seemed Purton was in for a big day as he was engaged on three fancied runners for Shum, but as the jockey put it: 'It went downhill after that.'
First Iron Hawk ($4.70) got too far back in a Class Four before running into third, but it was the failures of Fionn's Dragon ($3.30) and Fionn's Treasure ($2) in consecutive races that really hurt punters. Fionn's Dragon loomed, then wobbled out of contention, and was found to have pulled up with heart arrhythmia, while Fionn's Treasure was belted from pillar to post in his race.
'Whatever could go wrong did go wrong ... with Fionn's Dragon I suspected that was what went wrong and the other one, it wouldn't have mattered what horse I was on, they wouldn't have coped with it.'