Zac Purton continues to hurtle along at well above record pace after another treble at Sha Tin on Saturday.
After his personal best seven-timer at Sha Tin last month, Purton identified Joao Moreira’s single-season Hong Kong mark of 170 winners as his target this campaign.
He has since saluted another 19 times, including eight successes from the past three meetings, and after 18 of the 88 fixtures, he is on track to land 195 victories in 2022-23.
“There’s a long way to go, so I won’t get ahead of myself, but it’s been a good day and hopefully I can have a few more of them,” Purton said.
“I’ve had a lot of difficult gates this season, I feel if I had have had better gates I could have banged a few more winners in.
“When the gates start to fall my way, hopefully I can start getting four-, five- and six-timers going. That will certainly help me and I will need it.”
Afters wins aboard Me Tsui Yu-sak’s Superb Daddy and Pierre Ng Pang-chi’s Marado, Purton rounded out his treble with a feature victory on Beluga in the Class One Panasonic Cup (1,400m).
It was the David Hall-trained six-year-old’s sixth career win and Purton has been in the saddle for five of them.
“I get along well with him and I seem to have got on him at the right times,” the jockey said.
“It’s the highest he’s ever been in the ratings so it was never going to be easy for him, but he got in with a light weight and a good draw and the way the race was run certainly helped him as well.
“But he showed a lot of heart in the last 100m, he was on the canvas and he picked himself back up and got the job done. David has done a good job with him.”
Sent off the $4.15 second favourite, Beluga travelled midfield under Purton before working into the race turning for home and holding off Blaze Warrior and Circuit Stellar by a neck in a willing finish.
Already Hall’s highest-rated horse before Saturday’s win, Beluga will jump into the mid-90s and the trainer is keen to strike again while the iron is hot.
“He’ll probably run in the Chevalier Cup [over a mile on November 27],” Hall said. “Zac will probably have a booking there already so I might have to search for another jockey, but I think we can certainly increase his distance now.
“Second-up with the fresh legs the 1,400m is good for him, but he is by Tavistock and he’s right at the peak of his powers now so we’ll stretch him out a little bit further.
“He’s been a great advertisement for the stable. To see him get to this level and be able to pull that race off today, it was a very good win for the stable.”
Purton isn’t the only jockey operating in red-hot form, with Silvestre de Sousa also saluting eight times from the past three meetings after his double aboard Michael Chang Chun-wai’s Righteous Doctrine and Stunning Impact for Ng on Saturday.
Ng continued his impressive debut season, which has gone up a gear or two in recent times with the 39-year-old boasting seven winners from his past 28 runners.