Wednesday night’s Happy Valley meeting was a drought-breaker of sorts for champion jockey Zac Purton.
The record-breaking Australian left the meeting without a winner for the first time in 147 days, putting in context his dominance of Hong Kong racing in recent times.
Purton had gone 26 meetings straight with at least one win, with many yielding several more.
With the arrival of fellow Australian Blake Shinn and Joao Moreira no longer riding as a stable jockey, the riding ranks have become much more competitive, reflected in the results with seven different winners on Wednesday night.
“It’s always reflective of the chances you get and the rides you get,” Purton said.
“I went to the races on Wednesday night and thought it was going to be quite difficult to ride a winner and that’s the way it turned out.
“The only chance I thought I had was Best Smile and he got roasted for the lead and that was the end of his chances.
“Outside of him, I didn’t have anything there but that is just the way it goes, I will probably go to the Valley next week and ride four winners.”
While Purton took seven rides into Wednesday night’s meeting, he will jump aboard nine on Sunday with a host of likely short-priced chances.
He will again team up with trainer Dennis Yip Chor-hong on the ultra-consistent Racing Fighter who looks to make it three wins on the trot in the Class Two Tailorbird Handicap (1,200m).
The former Michael Freedman-trained galloper improved considerably last season and capped off the season with a slashing win in what was his first time in Class Two.
After trialling strongly last month, Racing Fighter will be forced to do it the hard way from barrier 11.
“It’s not a good gate, it makes it hard, so we’re going to need some luck,” Purton said.
“He’s done nothing wrong and he continued to get better last season as time went on.
“His trial recently was quite good so he’s still in good form and hopefully he’s got another win in him.”
Purton will again team up with John Moore on Buddies in the Class Three Swallow Handicap (1,650m) as the pair look to continue their red-hot form of last season.
The duo combined 89 times last season for an incredible 34 winners, striking at 38 per cent.
Purton managed three wins on the four-year-old last season and returns to his favoured all-weather surface on Sunday where his combined winning margin is more than five lengths.
He will again have the advantage of barrier two which will allow him to roll forward and dictate the race which includes the likes of Chung Wah Spirit and Righteous Doctrine.