Zac Purton will partner Juddmonte Farms’ Finche in next month’s Melbourne Cup after opting against riding Hong Kong-owned Red Verdon.
The champion Hong Kong jockey confirmed he is booked for the Chris Waller-trained four-year-old son of Frankel, who finished third in Wednesday’s Geelong Cup.
Finche won at Group Two and Group Three level in France when trained by Andre Fabre before moving to Australia in August.
Purton had been tentatively booked for Red Verdon, but after a torrid run in the Caulfield Cup when he finished 11th, the jockey decided to make the switch.
“What could go wrong did go wrong, but he didn’t help himself, he overraced quite badly,” Purton told the Post on Sunday. “If he’s going to race like that over two miles it is going to be difficult.”
Finche is 26th in the order of entry for the Melbourne Cup, but with a field of 24 and some natural attrition, he should gain a start. He will carry 54kg and is rated a $26 chance in early markets.
He's a tough horse!— Racing.com (@Racing) October 24, 2018
Runaway takes out the Geelong Cup with an all-the-way victory for @GaiWaterhouse1 and Adrian Bott. They quinella the race with Northwest Passage finishing second. pic.twitter.com/UALawYHiCW
The move means talented young Irishman Oisin Murphy will jump aboard Red Verdon, who is raced by former Jockey Club chairman Ronald Arculli.
The Ed Dunlop-trained five-year-old, who came second to Crystal Ocean in the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot, will also carry 54kg and is a $34 hope.