With Whyte out, Purton can stretch his lead at top
It was all square on the day as jockey championship rivals Douglas Whyte and Zac Purton had to make do with just a single each, but for Purton a narrow victory on Metallic Star broke his "mini drought" and kept his nose in front as the Durban Demon takes an enforced break.
Whyte today begins a three-meeting suspension and Purton will be hoping to make the most of that to improve on his one win lead by the time Whyte resumes.
So readily has the Australian been winning races this season, his 13-ride "losing streak" before Metallic Star was coming as a shock to the system but the win continued his great combination with trainer Dennis Yip Chor-hong.
"Dennis is having such a great season and his horses just feel fantastic under you - they're fit and flying and really giving you all they've got and I'm very grateful for the support I'm getting from him," said Purton, who has won 10 of his 41 rides this season for Yip, who is already halfway to his career-best haul of 50 wins last term. "I think he's done a terrific job to get Metallic Star to where he is after only a few starts because the horse is very much a work in progress and going to improve with maturity."
Whyte's victory on Winning Instinct for Michael Chang Chun-wai was one the grey probably owed him after the pair had struggled to get their schedules on the same page.
"I rode him on the dirt when Michael first put the blinkers on him and it was that awful wet day where they could make any ground but he did, despite the saddle shifting on him and putting me in some difficulty. I don't think I've had a saddle shift so far on me before so his run was even better than it looked," Whyte said.
"It was a great run but when he was a reserve the next time he ran, I took another ride. When he got in the field, Weichong Marwing rode him and he won the race after having a tough run. The penny has really dropped with him now in the blinkers - he had all the favours today from a better draw but he gave me the same great feel he gave me that day on the dirt."