Jockey Zac Purton plans to do his talking on the track

Challenger calls a halt to his war of words with 13-time champion Whyte, but has no intention of shying away from fight on the racecourse

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 September, 2013, 3:16am

Challenger Zac Purton yesterday called for an end to the war of words with 13-time defending champion jockey Douglas Whyte, but don't call it a truce: the on-track war will continue unabated.

"I'm not calling for a truce, not at all. I'm ready for a fight and I love a battle," Purton said. "But we have to put the talk to bed. We can't keep going on about it.

"I stand by everything I said, but I don't need to say any more. At the end of the day talk is cheap and results speak. I respect the fact he has won 13 championships. It is a huge effort and it is a record that will never be broken.

"But we've both said our piece and it is now time to put it in the past."

Labelling Whyte as "a bit up himself" was among some of the jibes Purton threw out in the Australian media and also the suggestion that it was only the support of trainer John Size and influential owners that had helped Whyte to his 13 championships.

Whyte credited the media talk with motivating him and fired a verbal broadside of his own - "the turning point was when Zac got a bit up himself and threw out a few chirps" - but only when the season was completed and he had triumphed by a convincing 13-win margin. "Actions speak louder than words," the South African added.

Purton, 30, still had a superb 2012-13 season, again improving his personal best to 88 wins, just as he has improved in each of his five seasons. "Obviously I am going to try to raise the bar a little bit higher again if I can," Purton said. "It's just going to come down to opportunities."

And on that score, Purton believes he is better placed than ever.

"I feel as if that at this stage of the pre-season the trainers have been more supportive, more receptive and more positive than they have been at any other stage of any season I have been here," he said. "If that counts for anything I should have a good season, or at least a good start to the season."

Even though the horse that carried him to his first overseas Group One success, 2012 King's Stand Stakes winner Little Bridge, was retired yesterday, Purton still has arguably the two best horses in town in his arsenal, Military Attack and Ambitious Dragon.

Asked who he would ride if they were drawn against each other over 2,000m at Sha Tin, Purton replied with the politeness of a fence-sitting politician: "There's nothing between them, but we will worry about a clash if and when we come to it. "Military Attack has an ambitious preparation ahead of him. He is obviously going to the internationals[ at Sha Tin in December], then Dubai, the QEII Cup and then Singapore. It's a fantastic prep and he has an amazing season ahead of him.

"Ambitious Dragon is going to stay at home for the regular season and possibly head aboard at the end of the term," said Purton, who visited Little Bridge at the Beas River spelling facility after trainer Danny Shum Chap-shing informed him the seven-year-old hadn't recovered sufficiently from a tendon injury.

"He was the horse that gave me a breakthrough international Group One, so he is very special to me and I thought it was only right I go up and give him a pat."