Zac Purton has joked that Ben and JD Hayes might be even better trainers than their Hong Kong-based father David after winning the Group One Doncaster Mile aboard Mr Brightside at Randwick on Saturday.
Four weeks after landing a Group One double in Sydney, Purton plundered more Australian riches in the A$4 million (HK$21 million) feature on day one of The Championships.
Mr Brightside continued his brilliant form for the Hayes brothers, landing back-to-back Doncasters after winning the All-Star Mile under another Hong Kong-based Australian jockey, Luke Currie, at Moonee Valley on March 18.
“They might even be better than he is,” Purton laughed on Australia’s Channel 7 when asked about how the ride on Mr Brightside came about.
Back-to-back for Mr Brightside!@zpurton claims his third Star Doncaster Mile as the Ben & JD Hayes gelding becomes the 8th horse to win successive Doncasters, fighting off My Oberon with Nugget in third. @tabcomau @lindsayparkrace pic.twitter.com/xky0wy4O1F— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) April 1, 2023
“He’s very proud of the way they’re going, and obviously they had a great master. He taught them everything they know, which is probably the most satisfying part of it for him.
“Obviously, I have a great connection with him in Hong Kong and personally as well we get along really well.
“I had the offer for the All-Star Mile but we had a Derby in Hong Kong the next day, so I didn’t go. I was very happy for Luke Currie to win on him that day, but today was my day and I’m glad I delivered for them.”
Purton, who rides Inspiring City for Hayes senior at Sha Tin on Sunday, also finished runner up aboard Giga Kick in the Group One T J Smith Stakes (1,200m) during his Australian raid, while his one-time arch-rival Joao Moreira tasted elite-level success of his own.
It's the MAGIC MAN! 🪄— World Horse Racing (@WHR) April 1, 2023
Joao Moreira takes the G1 @inglis_sales Sires on MILITARIZE, giving @cwallerracing his first win in the Randwick feature!@cavaleiro83 pic.twitter.com/TTlb3XKLhq
After departing Hong Kong in October and then embarking on a global farewell tour, Moreira kicked off his six-week stint Down Under in perfect fashion with victory aboard Militarize in the Group One Inglis Sires’ (1,400m).
The other Hong Kong-based rider strutting his stuff at Randwick was Hugh Bowman, who will miss the next two Hong Kong meetings as he remains in Australia to deal with some personal matters and ride in the second day of The Championships.
Bowman finished second behind Moreira in the Sires’ aboard Don Corleone, while he could only manage fourth with favourite Sharp ‘N’ Smart in the Group One Australian Derby (2,400m).