Zac Purton Breaks Prize Money Record In Hong Kong

Zac Purton Breaks Prize Money Record In Hong Kong

Australian jockey Zac Purton has taken scripts to new heights, after breaking the record for the most amount of prize money amassed in a single season.

The 36-year-old has had a memorable term in the far-east, and made history at the weekend after winning on Classic Unicorn at Sha Tin on Sunday, which took him to $207,714,765 HK for the year.

After victory on the three-year-old colt, he rode another five winners on the eleven-race card, adding to his 134 victories this campaign beforehand.

Winning the HKU Faculties Of Arts And Social Sciences Handicap on the debutant, Purton is HK$465,037 (approximately £46,945) clear of Joao Moreira's former record, with just eleven meetings still to run in the calendar season.

Hong Kong's reigning champion jockey has really stamped his authority on the international stage in the last twelve months as a whole, with several big race victories in the official season to saviour.

He has landed four Group One's on the outstanding miler Beauty Generation, in addition to the Hong Kong Vase and Gold Cup triumph on top-notch stayer Exultant.

With a winning percentage of 23.34%, Purton's prize-money smash-up appears to sit in incredible contrast to the highest by riders in Great Britain last year.

First on the list was Qatar Racing's retained jockey Oisin Murphy, who earned £6,227,217 in 2018, with Frankie Dettori finishing next in second place on just over £5 million.

Purton's new record was no surprise for those who have been following his season in much more depth, but there was a shock in that part of the world, when Dubai Turf winner Almond Eye was beaten for the very first time.

Last year's Japanese Triple Crown winner was returning to her homeland for the first time since her Meydan success, and was beaten in the Grade One Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo by Indy Champ, like Almond Eye owned by Silk Racing.

After connections opted against a European campaign - which could have involved a clash with John Gosden's Enable in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp, the four-year-old was sent off a 7/10 short-price favourite.

She got off to the worst of starts when immediately coming into traffic problems from stall number 14.

Settled at the back of the field, she was eventually unleashed down the centre of the course by Christophe-Patrice Lemaire with her traditional burst of speed helping her zoom past beaten rivals.

However she left herself with too much ground to make up on the winner, and despite only losing by half-a-length or so in the end, her invincibility was disintegrated in front of a sold-out crowd.

Seven races down, and a first defeat for Almond Eye. Hopefully she will bounce back.