WITH just 11 race meetings left before the season ends in Hong Kong, this could prove a decisive week for Zac Purton in his quest to be crowned champion jockey.
Reigning champ Joao Moreira is suspended for two meetings for careless riding, handing Purton the chance to wrestle the lead from him for the first time this season.
The ‘Magic Man’ currently leads by three, but Purton has a full book of rides on this afternoon’s eight-race Happy Valley card and a further 10 at Sha Tin on Sunday. So, he will be disappointed if he doesn’t secure at least four winners between now and then.
A horse he will be counting on to cut back the three-winner deficit is SUPER CHIC who lines up in the intriguing six-runner Class 3 Elgin Handicap, over one mile and three furlongs at 12.45pm.
Any races over 10 furlongs-plus in Hong Kong are considered marathons to the local racing fans, such is the rarity of races over further.
Purton is a master in these long-distance contests at the Valley. His 10- race record over the track and trip this season reads three wins and four places.
He was aboard Super Chic when they outsprinted the opposition over the course and distance in April, with rivals Good Days (third) and Goldfield (fourth) behind.
With a 7lb penalty, the form-book says he will have a tough task confirming that form, but such was his impressive finishing dash, he looked to have more in hand than the official winning verdict.
The Aussie-born pilot will be hoping for further success during the afternoon, especially when he gets the leg up on a handful of trainer Caspar Fownes’ contenders.
The Fownes stable have hit form in recent weeks, especially with Purton in the saddle.
Their present 27 per cent strike-rate makes impressive reading and the partnership are worth following.
The inside draw is a major plus to the chances of another Purton ride,TOP SCORE, who lines-up in the 2.45pm over six furlongs.
This progressive gelding dashed too late when runner-up over the track and trip in the middle of last month.
This time he should be able to sit a shade closer to the early frenetic pace, and then use his devastating late dash to good effect.
Super Chic 12.45pm Happy Valley
Top Score 2.45pm Happy Valley