Zac Purton feared a big day from Joao Moreira could put the jockeys’ championship out of reach but a double of his own kept things in check.
While the Magic Man collected a treble, the Australian thought it could have been worse with Brazilian on six favourites and two second favourites on the 10-race card.
But by guiding Magnetism and Comfort Life to victory, he is just three wins adrift with Moreira missing the next two meetings through suspension with just 11 race days left in the season.
“I’m still within touch but I’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Purton said.
“It gives me a chance and hopefully I can have a good couple of meetings.”
Frankie Lor Fu-chuen is one of the trainers enjoying the battle for the title and Comfort Life was a beneficiary.
Purton gave him a terrific ride, slotting in one-out, one-back from barrier six before pulling out in the straight to beat home Lasting Friendship and Taking Aim by two lengths.
“I originally offered the ride to Joao but he was already committed to David Hall’s horse Intrepic, so Zac got it,” Lor said.
“Zac and Joao fighting for the championship is good fun and we are benefiting from it – they are both trying very hard every race.”
Comfort Life has had an inconsistent start to his Hong Kong career with one placing from his first six starts, but there is clearly some ability there and he is starting to work it out.
“He needed to learn about life in Hong Kong,” Lor said. “He is still learning and he will continue to get better.”
Purton agreed with that assessment of the four-year-old, who won three starts in Australia before making the move north.
“Even going to the gates he was on the wrong leg, things like that, he is still putting it together,” he said.
“He just lobbed into the right spot, the pace was nice for him – he feels the ground a bit, his action is not that fluent and he wants to hang on the corners but he was working his way towards a victory and he won in good fashion today so hopefully he takes a bit of confidence out of that.”
Magnetism was also the recipient of a good ride, Purton taking inside runs after settling midfield and he really exploded when he found clear running, coming away to beat Super Form by three lengths.
“I just had a nice run on him in the race, the speed was nice early and I was just able to weave my way through – he looked pretty good in the end,” he said.
“He hasn’t put a performance together like that before so I don’t know where it was hiding but I was glad he produced that today.”
Magnetism’s win completed a race-to-race double for trainer David Ferraris, who also tasted success with Amazing Satchmo.