Zac Purton cut Joao Moreira’s lead to just one in the race for the Hong Kong jockeys’ title after notching a double at Happy Valley on Wednesday.
With Moreira serving a suspension, Purton took full advantage as he scored aboard the Richard Gibson-trained Hero Time in the first division of the Jonquil Handicap before teaming up with Tangmere for Caspar Fownes in the second division of the Marigold Handicap.
After winning on Tangmere, Purton said: “The fast pace and wet track really helped this horse, it was a good effort.”
Of Hero Time, he added: “He did a good job. He had a tough run and it was a solid effort.”
Purton now has 103 wins against Moreira’s 104 heading into Sunday’s Group One card at Sha Tin, when Purton will ride Beauty Generation against Moreira’s Waikuku in the FWD Champions Mile, Exultant against the Brazilian’s Time Warp in the FWD QEII Cup and Aethero in opposition to Hot King Prawn in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize.
Purton was out of luck aboard favourite Dancing Fighter in the Crocus Handicap as he finished third behind the Derek Leung-ridden Beauty Amigo.
A dual Listed winner when racing as Brother Bear for Jessica Harrington in Ireland, the Kodiac five-year-old relished ease in the ground to seal a double for trainer John Moore.
“He’s been a work in progress and when Derek got off him he said he just loved the ground – there was plenty of cushion in the track – and the fast pace enabled him to settle in behind and hit the line well,” Moore said.
Moore also struck gold with We The South in the Iris Handicap.