Zac Purton reunites with John Moore after almost two years
Jockey will ride Harbour Master in the Sa Sa Ladies' Purse, having won the race for the trainer in 2008
Zac Purton has his first rides for champion trainer John Moore in nearly two years tomorrow, including Sa Sa Ladies' Purse contender Harbour Master, but the jockey isn't getting too far ahead of himself when it comes to future big-race engagements for the stable.
Alliances between jockeys and trainers seem to fall apart and reform on a whim at Sha Tin but in the soap opera that is Hong Kong racing few predicted Purton and Moore would rekindle their lost spark so soon.
"It's good to be back in the camp," Purton said yesterday, without indicating whether it was he or Moore that held out the olive branch for reconciliation.
"There are always rides floating around in these big races, the major stables need jockeys and I happened to be available for this race. I've had a lot of success for John and ridden some big race winners for him."
Purton won the Ladies' Purse for Moore on Viva Macau in 2008. Watch the race below.
However, his last ride for the stable was an unplaced effort in the 2014 Stewards' Cup on Military Attack - a horse transformed into a Group One winner by the jockey's tactical mastery, including a victory in Singapore that helped to capture horse of the year honours.
Months earlier Purton had ridden Moore-trained runners in all four of the 2013 Hong Kong international day events, placing on Frederick Engels in the Hong Kong Sprint and his sublime effort on outsider Dominant in the Vase stealing victory from a host of highly credentialled European visitors.
There was a rather acrimonious ending to that brief but successful incarnation of the partnership though and Purton was unceremoniously dumped by Moore off Military Attack for Joao Moreira ahead of the horse's win in the 2014 Hong Kong Gold Cup.
There has been plenty of water under the bridge since then, including Military Attack's transfer to Caspar Fownes, but it appears the door has been left ajar for Purton to link with Moore once again on an ad hoc basis.
Purton, who also rides Royale Elegance tomorrow, said he was taking a wait-and-see approach and it seems as though his bookings are filling up for the upcoming features anyway.
"I'm pretty set for the international day races," said Purton, who hopes to ride a Japanese invitee in the Hong Kong Sprint after last year's winner, Aerovelocity, was spelled by trainer Paul O'Sullivan.
"Hopefully, Packing Pins can make it into the Hong Kong Mile field, Military Attack is headed for the Cup and the Vase is always a difficult race for us, so I'll see what I can pick up there as it gets closer," he added.
As for Harbour Master's chances tomorrow with 133 pounds, Purton said a sharp drop in class would stand the five-year-old Group Three winner in good stead.
"He is an honest horse and he always seems to run well. He is third up and should be nearing his peak - if that is the case, he will be very competitive," Purton said.
"I galloped him once last week and he gave me a great feel. He beat a few of these horses at Group Three level over the course and distance late last season."