The last winner Zac Purton rode for John Moore had come with a brilliant tactical ride in the 2013 Longines Hong Kong Vase on Dominant, and the jockey produced another gem to claim the Group Three Bauhinia Sprint Trophy yesterday on Not Listenin’tome and give himself a potential headache.
Purton and Moore had a parting of ways in early 2014, with the result that Purton didn’t ride for the yard for 22 months, but the leading trainer and jockey have combined a few times again this season and the partnership bore fruit in the 1,000m sprint.
Purton ensured that favourite Strathmore (Chad Schofield) was always in his sights and he made a subtle early forward move to make sure Schofield would struggle to find room to use his advantage at the handicaps.
“With my horse giving Strathmore 18 pounds, he was the horse I had to beat and, at the weights I thought I needed him to be unlucky,” said Purton. “I was able to come over steadily and be handy to the lead and also able to dictate where he could go and it just worked out perfectly. He’s a very genuine horse this, he gives you everything he’s got.”
As Strathmore was stopped in his tracks, Not Listenin’tome broke clear and then held a length advantage to the line as Strathmore scrambled into second late, narrowly ahead of Dundonnell.
“Not Listenin’tome is one of our most consistent sprinters here now and it was only the weight that concerned me, the 133 pounds, not the coming back from the 1,200m of the Hong Kong Sprint,” said Moore.
“That’s been a good win, he’s done it with the big weight and now he goes to the Group One 1,200m at the end of the month and then hopefully Dubai. Zac is a bit up in the air for next time but if he can’t ride him in the Centenary Sprint, I’ll ask Hugh Bowman to come in and take the ride.”
Purton said loyalty would ensure he rides Aerovelocity if the 2014 Hong Kong Sprint hero resumes his career in the Centenary Sprint Cup, but that engagement is not yet set in stone.
“Aerovelocity trialled well enough the other day but still has another trial to decide if he is ready to run and I’ll definitely ride him if he does go to the race at the end of the month but I’d love to get back on Not Listenin’tome,” said Purton. “Actually, the situation is even trickier than that because Packing Pins might also run in that race on the 31st too.”
Trainer Tony Millard also has his eye on Dubai with Strathmore after his unlucky effort and he too will go to the Centenary Sprint Cup, although he will be poorly off at the set weights there.
“Well, pretty clearly he should have won today with a clear run,” Millard said. “I have to talk to the owner to finalise it but I’m thinking he runs in the 1,200m Group One here and then the 1,000m in Dubai. He’s probably the highest rated four-year-old here so I did consider the Classic Mile too, where he’d be well rated against his own age, but I just think he might struggle with 1,600m.”
The win was the highlight of Purton’s day, with two close seconds elsewhere on the card and the lowlight his careless riding suspension out of the second race on High Speed Metro that will see him sidelined from January 10 until January 21.