Zac Purton believes Packing Treadmill is “probably the best chance” he’s had of securing an elusive Classic Mile victory.
The first leg of the four-year-old series is the only big race missing from Purton’s Hong Kong CV – he snared a first Classic Cup victory aboard California Spangle last year – and the Australian hopes the Francis Lui Kin-wai-trained galloper can help him fill that void.
“He’s probably the best chance I’ve had in it so hopefully we can get it done,” said Purton, who this week committed to riding Packing Treadmill in the January 29 feature.
“You can’t fault his record, he’s got a great record and he’s just a winner. He continues to get the job done and he showed last time he can run the distance, albeit in a slowly run race where he was in the right spot from a good gate and he didn’t have to do any work.
Packing Treadmill is a winning machine! 🔥— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) December 24, 2022
That's his sixth victory at just his eighth start, denying Fantastic Treasure in a cracking finale!
Next stop?! 2023 #4YOSeries | #HKracing pic.twitter.com/BmifYospYV
“But it was a fairly strong race and it was a good win. He’s obviously got the rating and he gets into the race at set weights so I’m happy to be on him.”
Packing Treadmill’s last-start success – his first at a mile – took his record to six wins from eight starts and lifted him to a rating of 93, a mark traditionally high enough to be right in the mix in a Classic Mile.
Just who Packing Treadmill will tackle in the Classic Series opener is yet to be confirmed, but if things go well this Sunday it’s possible the John Size-trained Tuchel could be among his opponents.
Purton partners Tuchel in the Class Two Yuen Long Handicap (1,400m), with the 77-rated gelding racing for the first time since his first-up victory in September after suffering lameness.
“He’s got to do it this weekend to even get in, and it’s a big ask for him to do this and then back up again so quick,” Purton said.
Another four-year-old among Purton’s 10-strong book is the Frankie Lor Fu-chuen-trained Hava Nageela in the Class Three Ping Shan Handicap (1,600m).
Hava Nageela takes on David Hayes’ Classic Series hopeful Straight Arron, who Purton partnered into ninth at his Hong Kong debut, with the jockey confirming he had already committed to Hava Nageela before he knew Straight Arron was going to run.
Another interesting mount of Purton’s is the Manfred Man Ka-leung-trained Dream Pursuer in the Class Three Tai Tong Handicap (1,200m).
Purton finished fourth aboard the five-year-old in his long-awaited Hong Kong debut and is confident he can improve second up with four weeks between runs.
“He’s been in Hong Kong for quite some time and obviously had the setback with the injury, so therefore he hadn’t raced for a while,” he said of Dream Pursuer, who won twice from three pre-import starts in Australia.
“I thought he did a fairly good job from an awkward gate, he did get into a nice spot and had his chance, but hopefully he is going to improve off that.”