Zac Purton took the Tony Cruz trained Time Warp (GB) to the front from the outset in the HK$25m, Group 1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin on Sunday to give Hong Kong their third victory in the HKIR meeting after earlier victories with Mr Stunning (AUS) and Beauty Generation (NZ) for the local trainers.
Time Warp wins the Hong Kong Mile, photo Liesl King
Beauty Generation, a Road To Rock five-year-old gelding, was brilliantly ridden by Derek Leung in the previous race, the Group 1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m). They led with a slow tempo and then using Beauty Generation’s tempo and rhythm they left the chasers doing just that, chasing but only to within a length at the line. It was the most significant victory for the John Moore trained Beauty Generation and for Leung at a HKIR meeting.
The pattern by Leung, a rising star of riding in Hong Kong, was followed by his senior colleague Zac Purton in the Cup. Purton, 34, is no stranger to HKIR victories with five previously, however, Saturday’s might well have been the easiest.
Time Warp, a four-year-old gelding by Archipenko, was not exactly used to top class racing with this his first Group 1 race. A stakes winner in France he came to Sunday’s race off three Hong Kong Group placings, the last second in the Group 2 BOCHK Jockey Club Cup over 2000m on November 19th.
Purton took no notice of the past in his first ride on Time Warp and proceeded to give the gelding a master class on how to win at the top.
They went to the front from the barriers to lead down the back straight with the rest stacked up behind them. Alarm bells started ringing, Werther (NZ) and Tommy Berry for example were seventh at the 800m heading into the bend and Time Warp was a long, long way ahead.
At the 400m Purton shook the reins telling Time Warp the job was not complete and the length of the straight was ahead. Time Warp responded very well and away the two of them went.
Werther and Berry appeared from the 250m, but it was too late. The winner was bowling alone at his own tempo way ahead and they went to the line with 2 1/4L in hand.
Zac Purton steers Time Warp to victory, photo Liesl King
Werther (Tavistock) and Berry were also clear with a margin of 1 1/2L to Neorealism (JPN) (Neo Universe) and Joao Moreira third. Staphanos was fourth, Smart Layer fifth and Poet’s Word fifth.
The time was 2.01.63 on the Good rated track, slower than standard of 2.01.30. The sectionals were 26.27, 25.12, 24.37, 23.79, 22.08.
Time Warp, out of the Stormy Atlantic mare Here To Eternity, was winning for the ninth time from 23 starts. The win earned stakes of HK$14,250,000 for owner Martin Siu Kim Sun. For Cruz, 60, it was his ninth HKIR win.
What the beaten jockey's said after the Hong Kong Cup:
2nd - WERTHER – Tommy Berry
“There wasn’t enough pressure up the front in the race – no pace – and not what he wanted.
3rd - NEOREALISM – Joao Moreira
“It was a fantastic run. He was a bit keen early and it took me quite a while to get him to relax but he did a very good job to finish third.”
4th - STAPHANOS – Hugh Bowman
“He ran a very gallant race in defeat. He had a good turn of foot. I was pleased with his effort. I thought at the top of the straight it was Werther and my mount who would fight it out, but the winner was too strong.”
5th - SMART LAYER – Yutaka Take
“It was her best effort. She was in good form today. I planned to sit handy and she travelled as planned. But the winner was just too strong. She ran her race.”
6th - POET’S WORD
Jockey Andrea Atzeni was unavailable for comment.
7th - SECRET WEAPON – Nash Rawiller
“The race was run a bit slow for us. He has run creditably though I met a bit of interference past the 300 metres. Everything needs to go right in big races.”
8th - ROBIN OF NAVAN – Sam Clipperton
“It was a good run. He races a little bit stop-start. It was an honest effort and he might not run out 2,000 metres strong, so he could be better suited back to a mile.”
9th - GARLINGARI – Stephane Pasquier
“What can I say? I was sitting in fourth but the pace was not fast enough for my horse. It is the end of the season for us and my horse probably wasn’t at his best.”
10th - WAR DECREE – Seamus Heffernan
“I was happy enough. He shows a bit more than what we have seen and hopefully he will get there some day.”
11th – DEAUVILLE
Jockey Ryan Moore was unavailable for comment.
12th - BLOND ME – Oisin Murphy
“She has been a great servant to me but he got too far back off a slow pace.”
Time Warp, photo Liesl King
What the beaten jockey's said after the Hong Kong Mile:
LONGINES Hong Kong Mile – Post-race jockey quotes
1st - BEAUTY GENERATION – Derek Leung
“This was a great opportunity and I took advantage. He never stops and we dictated the pace early on, so at the 450 metres I pressed the button a bit earlier because I knew he wouldn’t stop. He stayed on very well.”
2nd - WESTERN EXPRESS – Sam Clipperton
“A gallant effort. He jumped really well today which was the key and I was able to get a good position. He fought hard to the line – the winner is in great form – and I am very proud of my horse. Well done to Derek Leung.”
3rd - HELENE PARAGON – Tommy Berry
“He jumped better today but I would still have liked to be a bit closer. But he just does not have the speed to put himself there – the winner got a bit of an easy time around the corner which did not help my cause but he has run out of his skin again.”
4th - SEASONS BLOOM – Joao Moreira
“No complaints – it was a good run. Maybe he needs a little more distance of ground.”
5th - LANCASTER BOMBER - Ryan Moore
“He ran a good race. It’s been hard to make up ground today and he just ran soft time in front and my horse has run well.”
6th - HORSE OF FORTUNE – Umberto Rispoli
“I was very happy with his run. He tries hard every time and he gives you 100 per cent. Beauty Generation was too good for everyone today. The pace was not fast but my horse enjoyed a good run and was where he should have been.”
7th - BEAUTY ONLY – Zac Purton
“He was disappointing, but he shortened in the straight so there might be something amiss.”
8th - SICHUAN DAR – Nash Rawiller
“He was able to finish off the race very well.”
9th - JOYFUL TRINITY – Gerald Mosse
“It was a big improvement from last time and I am very pleased with him. He gave me a good run, coming through from the outside, a bit far back. This was promising for the future.”
10th - LIGHTNING SPEAR – Oisin Murphy
“He had a lovely pitch but he is not used to racing around a turn and I got lost in the stretch. I am delighted for Derek Leung.”
11th - SATONO ALADDIN – Hugh Bowman
“Our plan was to get moving early since he is not a sit and sprint type and with the slow pace I was hoping to get within striking distance but I just felt that maybe his best are days are gone.
12th - CONTENTMENT – Brett Prebble
“It did not work out. I got caught three deep, but he did not have the power to take me forward when I wanted him to and sit in the position I wanted him to. He is just not 100 per cent.”
13th - KARAR – Pierre-Charles Boudot
“Normally he gives everything but when we turned in he had no gas – it was just an off day.
14th - ROLY POLY – Seamus Heffernan
“I had a terrible draw and after going two furlongs the pace was steadied and I was four wide. It didn’t ride as a nice race for me.”