Purton stretches his championship lead over Moreira
With his arch-rival still on suspension, Australian jockey scores another double
Championship leader Zac Purton didn't have the day he might have expected but it was enough to win the Jockey Challenge again and extend his lead in the title race out to 10 over Joao Moreira.
Moreira still has one more meeting to serve of his three-day careless riding ban, and Purton has been on song with doubles at Happy Valley last Wednesday and again yesterday, although the day looked better than that on paper.
Purton's standout mount, Numero Uno was again downed at odds-on through no fault of the rider, while Telecom Prince, Gideon, Winning Leader and Packing Llaregyb also had to make do with minor placings.
But Purton was giving himself some credit for winning again on Paul O'Sullivan-trained seven-year-old mare, Bernard's Choice.
"She's not an easy ride so getting two out of her in the one season is a huge result," he said.
"I couldn't have had a better run through the race, but I was worried when I brought her to the outside to make her run.
"She's better coming through horses and generally when she gets to the outside she won't go, she just stops. But that was the opportunity that came and I had to take it.
"There was cushion in the track today, the grass was left longer and there seemed some give, and maybe that is why she went through with it.
"When the track is harder she just pulls herself up."
Purton was the King Of Class Five for the afternoon, having also won the opening event on Win It for Chris So Wai-yin.
The five-year-old was allowed to lead and dictate a slow tempo, and he came right away for a hollow victory after putting the writing on the wall last time out when he had placed for just the second time here.
"His last run was full of merit, Chris put the cheek pieces back on him today which just sharpened him up early and he got the front easily and we controlled it," Purton said.
"He might take some confidence from it and be a chance again next time in Class Four with a light weight but I hope the handicapper isn't too tough on him.
"He shouldn't be because Win It has been here for a while and has had quite a few goes before now and never done much.
"He was just right place, right time today and the margin was very flattering."