Purton now counting on Whyte's ban to go top
It wasn't the day that Jockey Challenge punters envisaged for Zac Purton, but he had to make do with a double and the knowledge that his arch-rival Douglas Whyte caught a suspension.
Both jockeys had two winners on the card, maintaining Whyte's three-win lead but the South African's careless riding penalty (two meetings) for his win on Flagship Shine in the final race will give Purton another chance to claw back the margin.
That was something Purton probably expected to do yesterday, but with long odds-on chance Little Cow meeting defeat in the third race and another favourite Good Good View beaten in the last, two winners in Spicy Siam for Peter Ng Bik-kuen and Grimmy for Dennis Yip Chor-hong was all he could muster and it wasn't enough to reward those who had backed him at odds-on in the Challenge.
And even Grimmy made sure his backers got their share of excitement before he saluted at $14.50 in the ninth race.
"He was travelling well through the race but just still a bit new at his second start. Going between horses, I felt he was a bit hesitant," Purton said after Grimmy overhauled the runaway leader Dane Patrol to win by a neck. "I could see Dane Patrol in front and I was happy about that because I knew he'd stop but he kept running for longer today," Purton said. "I think the other thing that we might need to look at is whether Grimmy wants further now he's had the two runs over the 1,000m."
While Grimmy is two from two, Spicy Siam finally put runs on the board at start number 17 in the Class Five over 1,800m and he seems to have polished up his modest skills in some small way since Purton got aboard two starts ago.
"He's been knocking on the door and got everything his way," Purton said. "I rode him earlier in the season and thought he felt field shy so since I've got back on him I've been trying to make sure he gets some room and he's gone better. I gave him a good wake up last time early in the race and today he gave a bit more help."
Ng wasn't making any grand plans for the gelding: "He's an elevator horse - he'll get to Class Four and find it too hard and then go back down to Class Five again for his chance to win."