Ryan Moore used two wins at last year’s Hong Kong International Races as a launch pad to winning the 2016 World’s Best Jockey but Zac Purton believes it is virtually impossible for him to replicate that feat, despite a Group One double of his own.
Purton’s wins on Beauty Only in theHong Kong Mile and Aerovelocity in the Hong Kong Sprint give him the early lead in the 2017 World’s Best Jockey Award, which started with Sunday’s four Group Ones.
Yet Purton believes the structure of the award, which uses results from the world’s 100 highest-rated races, works against Asian-based riders, who have far less opportunities to ride in big races than their northern hemisphere counterparts.
Even news that Beauty Only will be aimed at the Yasuda Kinen, a race eligible for World’s Best Jockey award points, wasn’t enough to have Purton believe he will be lifting the trophy this time next year.
“It’s too hard to win the World’s Best Jockey award from here in Hong Kong. We just don’t get the opportunity to ride in enough of the races to be competitive,” he said.
“It’s a great concept and I watch it with interest, but the structure just doesn’t give everyone the chance to compete for it.”
Moore was presented with this year’s award at a gala gathering in Wan Chai on Friday night after a tremendous season that saw him win eight of the 100 highest-rated races in the world.
The English superstar, who got off the mark in this year’s chase by taking the Hong Kong Cup on Maurice, also rode nine seconds and four thirds to see him win by a clear margin from Christophe Soumillon and Hugh Bowman.
Sha Tin only hosts 15 Group Ones in total, with just 10 qualifying for the list of 100 “point scoring” eligible races.
As such no Hong Kong-based jockey finished in the top 10, Joao Moreira just missing in 11th, while Purton only managed 17th.