Expat Aussie hoop Zac Purton enjoyed one of the best days of his riding career at Sha Tin Racecourse on Sunday with an International Cup Day victory in the 2012 Hong Kong Mile with reigning Hong Kong Horse of the Year Ambitious Dragon.
Coming off a good second in the Group 2 The Jockey Club Mile at the same track and distance, Pins six-year-old Ambitious Dragon went out as one of top fancies in the HK$20 million Group 1 The Longines Hong Kong Mile (1600m) this year and continued the dominance of the locals becoming the seventh straight to win the classic.
Rewarding Purton, aboard for all three of their runs this time in, the Tony Millard-trained Ambitious Dragon held on in a thrilling finish to beat home the John Size-trained perennial runner-up Glorious Days, second in the race for the fourth time, by just over half a length turning the tables on their last start conqueror.
“The last thing Tony said was just worry about what you’re doing and not everyone else so I did that and I had the horse underneath me,” Purton said.
“I thought the pace was nice enough that I was able to wait a little bit and I just tried to wait until I got into the straight and then let him down.
“I let him roll into his gear and let him down and in the end I never had to touch him with the whip. It was a pretty soft win and a good effort.”
John Moore’s Australian-bred Redoute’s Choice six-year-old Packing OK then finished off the winning Hong Kong Mile trifecta two and a half lengths off the winner as an $89 roughie.
The Hong Kong Mile victory capped off what has been a very exciting and successful year for Purton who can add the trophy to his growing collection that also includes their Royal Ascot with Little Bridge earlier in the year, and who is second only to Douglas Whyte in the Hong Kong Jockey’s Premiership.
“It’s just great,” Purton said of his win on Sunday.
“Fantastic win from a very good horse and a great thrill for me.
“I’ve worked really hard here and the rewards have come.
“It was tough early but the past three or years have been good; the past couple excellent and this year just incredible.
“Hopefully it can keep rolling and I fancy I could win a premiership here with the backing of the right stable.”
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