Who knows how pivotal Zac Purton's running double to close the day was in the context of his Jockeys' Championship duel with Joao Moreira, but one thing seems certain: a mid-season two-meeting suspension that begins today has come at the right time for the Australian.

Purton had seen his championship lead whittled away to 14 as Moreira rode a treble, but victory in the last two races on Precision King and Aerovelocity restored a more comfortable break.

Not only did the brace ensure Purton left for a Philippines getaway feeling good after a lean couple of weeks, he beat Moreira into second on both occasions - adding a "double points" feel to the wins. Moreira had made up 10 wins in the standings heading into the last two races, Purton going winless at the last two meetings.

"You never want to get suspended, but things have been frustrating recently, and, hopefully, a freshen-up mentally and physically is going to turn things around," Purton said, admitting the wear and tear of riding in more than 300 races through 39 meetings had taken a toll.

You never want to get suspended, but things have been frustrating recently, and, hopefully, a freshen-up mentally and physically is going to turn things around
Zac Purton

"I've had a lot of rides this season and I've been going pretty hard at it, so a short break might not be the worst thing in the world."

Missing next Sunday's Lunar New Year meeting ensures Purton gets a relatively long recuperative stint: with no midweek fixture until then, he will not return until the Sha Tin meeting in nearly two weeks on February 8.

After a tough front-running ride on Precision King, Purton again earned his percentage on Aerovelocity - who made it three on the bounce - although there was a touch of tactical nous to go with his late desperation as Moreira closed late on favourite Super Jockey.

Knowing Super Jockey had drawn 12 and was giving his horse nine pounds, Purton set sail for home early, despite having travelled wide throughout - and the daring move worked as he stole a crucial break at the top of the straight.

 

"I know what sort of horse he is. He was dropping down a lot in weight and he is fit now - that's why I wasn't too worried about being wide, although, of course, I would have liked to get across," Purton said.

"He carried a bit of weight last time, he did a bit of work and he got the job done. I also knew that my main danger had to carry the weight this time and I thought that if I got him off the bit and chasing early I didn't think he would pick me up.

 

"I was quite confident in making that early move. The way the track was it helped - there were a couple of winners that came down the middle of the track, but it did seem to be better towards the fence."

 

 

 

 

Comments0Comments