Zac Purton has an enviable book of rides in the Group 1 features of FWD Champions Day Sha Tin on Sunday including Mr Stunning (AUS) in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m), Beauty Generation (NZ) in the FWD Champions Mile and Exultant (IRE) in the FWD QEII Cup.
Hong Kong’s leading jockey this season is, naturally, supremely confident with Beauty Generation with Hong Kong’s joint-highest rated horse of all time expected to deal with the field of seven as he pleases.
Watch the video below as Purton discussed Beauty Generation with Steve Moran on Friday morning.
Purton was more circumspect about Mr Stunning who he rode to third in the Group 3 Sprint Cup over 1200m on April 7th. It was the first time that Purton had ridden Mr Stunning, a duel Longines Hong Kong Sprint winner, and he was disappointed in the third behind Rattan and old rival Beat The Clock.
“I said after the race that I was a little bit disappointed in his effort,” he said.
“To be fair though in his trial prior to that race I rode him and he did not give me much of a feel in a trial and I worried about that going into that race and he probably raced accordingly.
“I felt that the way the race was run I thought he would give me more. He was ten weeks between races so that is probably some little excuse, but like I said, I thought he was disappointing. He should have won under those circumstances.
“I have not been on him since that race and I do not know if he has come on since and I just hope he has. Frankie has enjoyed a great season this season, as well as his rookie year last year and I have a lot of faith in him, he definitely knows what he is doing.
“If he can just get a little more out of this horse for this race then we are right in it,” he said.
Purton said he was happy with barrier three for Sunday’s race, but that he was worried about a lack of speed in the race.
“I would prefer something to follow, but I will not be afraid to take it up,” he said.
All of which would add considerable spice to the sprint, Race 6 at 3.20pm HKT on the ten race programme, with the expected favourite, Anthony Freedman’s Santa Ana Lane (AUS), likely to be at the back of the field in his usual racing style and with barrier 10.
If the Japanese runner, Nac Venus (JPN) under Yutaka Take, goes forward from barrier eight then Purton might have his wish to be able to track a leader. The rest would not want to give them too much leeway out in front.
Then there will be the equation to see if Santa Ana Lane can emulate the mighty Chautauqua (AUS) in coming from the rear to win the 2016 renewal of the race overhauling the early leaders including Purton’s Mr Stunning.