Zac Purton’s four timer came with the kicker of riding another winner for one of Hong Kong racing’s most famous families as the Australian continues to forge relationships with key players.
Purton said his four win haul was as “good as it gets” as a jockey but from a future perspective, he has landed a big fish with the support of the Kwok family for whom he now has first call on their plethora of “Beauty” horses trained at Sha Tin.
John Moore-trained Beauty Prince became Purton’s second winner for Simon Kwok Siu-ming this season after Beauty Master won at the season opener but soon it will also be Group One contenders like Beauty Only the jockey is climbing aboard.
“Simon approached me last season to ride more of the Beauty horses and where I can fit in I will, they were keen for me to ride Beauty Only and they also have another nice Derby horse they purchased,” Purton said.
That 2017 BMW Hong Kong Derby horse is 93-rated Beauty Generation - a big-ticket import out of Australia, where the gelding raced as Montaigne and was second at Group One level.
European import Beauty Prince won’t ever be reaching those heights, the four-year-old battled through his first campaign after coming from Clive Cox, placing twice in 10 starts.
Moore gave the gelding a rather unflattering assessment following the Class Three win, but believed Beauty Prince could win again in the grade.
“His work had been good and he was ready,” Moore said. “He is limited - but he will pay his way in Class Three.”
Barring an injury to two-time defending champion Joao Moreira, Purton’s jockeys’ championship hopes are slim, but his season is off to a flyer; he now has nine wins from four meetings and a five-win lead over the Brazilian, who served the first day of a two-meeting careless riding ban on Sunday.
Purton was a runaway winner of the Jockey Challenge with 66 points - an early win on Jing Jing Win followed later in the card by consecutive victories aboard Dragon Master, Beauty Prince and Racing Supernova.
“I had a good day, as I expected to have,” he said. “But it is very rare, particularly here, that you go to the races with a lot of good rides and all of your horses turn up - usually something goes wrong with one of them - but eight out of nine today turned up and ran well. That’s as good a day as I have ever had.”