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Purton has eyes on second title after reaching 100

Starlit Knight took Zac Purton to 99 wins for the season at Happy Valley on Wednesday night and before the night was out, he had cracked the triple-figure barrier after taking the Class 3 Norfolk Handicap (1200m) aboard Super Hoppy. It was the Captain Sonador gelding’s first start for trainer Danny Shum.

“I’ve had some luck with the sire – Seasons Bloom is the best of them anywhere I think – so I’m grateful to the owners for giving me the chance with Super Hoppy,” Shum said. “He’s got plenty of talent, I think he’s better than a Class 3 horse and hopefully in time he can show that.

“It was great to give Zac his 100th win, that was his 16th win for me this season and he has asked me to give him at least five more so that was one towards that!”

Purton, who took only 655 races to reach 100 wins this season compared to 675 in his premiership-winning season in 2013/14 and 761 last term, now sits eight wins adrift of Moreira in the title race. 

“It’s nice to get to 100 wins,” Purton said. “It was my target at the start of the season. It’s a good number to reach, because it means you’ve had a pretty successful season, so I’m happy. In one respect, it’s now job done, but in another respect, it just means there’s another target to work towards.”  

The Class 3 Suffolk Handicap (1800m) was won by the David Hall-trained Victory Boys, who converted his four placings from eight starts this season into an overdue win. The son of Mastercraftsman was produced centre track by Brett Prebble, racing to a half-length win.

“Like my stable this season, he hasn’t always had luck go his way in his races – and I thought that might be the case again tonight when he had a few things go wrong mid-race,” Hall said. “He is so honest though and that shone through, because it’s difficult to win a race like that with top-weight when things go wrong.

“I’ve always thought he had the potential to win a Class 2 with a light weight, he’ll get his chance again now so let’s see.”

The nightcap, the Class 3 Warwick Handicap (1650m), was won by the Ricky Yiu-trained Outlawed with Chad Schofield in the saddle.

Racing returns to Sha Tin on Sunday (20 May) for a 10-race card.

100 winners for Zac Purton as he returns on Super Hoppy, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club

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