Racing: Purton dominates big day

Australian jockey's Sha Tin treble includes victory on Kiwi-bred miler.

A delighted Zac Purton celebrates Ambitious Dragon's win in the Hong Kong Mile at Sha Tin on Sunday. Photo / AP
A delighted Zac Purton celebrates Ambitious Dragon's win in the Hong Kong Mile at Sha Tin on Sunday. Photo / AP

A career-defining treble by Queensland jockey Zac Purton highlighted the Hong Kong international meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday.

Purton upstaged a host of global jockey superstars as Adelaide stayer Alcopop's slashing third in the 2000m Cup contrasted with Sea Siren's flat ninth in the 1200m Sprint.

Expatriate Purton combined with Brett Prebble to snare five of the first seven races, crowned by a sublime ride on local idol New Zealand-bred Pins gelding Ambitious Dragon in the 1600m Mile.

The trio of wins left Purton breathing down 12-time Hong Kong champion Douglas Whyte's neck in the race for this season's premiership.

"This is just amazing," Purton told the Herald Sun.

"To have success on a day like today is a dream. I'm ecstatic."

The treble came 18 months after Purton was fined A$40,000 by the Hong Kong Jockey Club for failing to report an approach by Hong Kong punter Cosma Fung Hok Cheung.

Cosma Fung was at the centre of the scandal that landed another former Queensland jockey Chris Munce in jail.

Caulfield Cup runner-up Alcopop missed the start, suffered buffeting throughout and charged home along the fence behind California Memory and Giofra.

The performance delighted trainer Jake Stephens. "Just fantastic," he said. "He's run brilliantly."

Sydney trainer John O'Shea was baffled after Sea Siren's lacklustre run.

"I've got no idea, honestly," he said. "She's never run like that in her life. I'm sorry, until I watch the replay, I just can't comment."

Lord Kanaloa won the Sprint for Japan.

Newmarket's Ed Dunlop was celebrating one of his greatest achievements as a trainer when Red Cadeaux fought tenaciously to scrape home in the Hong Kong Vase in a memorable British triumph to bring down the curtain on the international Flat season, reports the Daily Telegraph.

This was the third win for Dunlop at this fixture, and while Ouija Board and Snow Fairy, both Oaks winners at Epsom before embarking on their travels, were extraordinary in their own way, Red Cadeaux clearly has a special place in the trainer's affections because of his toughness.

"He's brave and wants to win," an elated Dunlop said.

"When Gerald Mosse got off him after the Japan Cup [in which he finished eighth], he thought that he [Red Cadeaux] had broken a leg. He had cuts to both his hind legs, and it could have been serious.

"This is his biggest win in an amazing career.

"He was beaten by a pixel in last year's Melbourne Cup and then came here and finished third in this race. I think I learned a lot from this year's Melbourne Cup [in which he finished eighth] when he passed 10 horses in the straight.

"I felt we needed to be closer to the pace this time."

Mosse did his part by sitting fourth on the outside going into the back straight, after earlier having taken a rails position before shifting out at the first turn.

The pace was again modest but nowhere near as slow as it had been in Melbourne last month.

Red Cadeaux burst through in the centre to lead a furlong out, but the Japanese runner Jaguar Mail quickly came upsides.

However, Mosse said he was never worried.

"Even if I went one more lap, nobody would have passed me. He really fought to the line," he observed.

At the post, Red Cadeaux had only a short head to spare over Jaguar Mail, with half-a-length back to French raider Meandre in third, but always looked likely to land the prize.

Dunaden, ridden by Craig Williams, finished fourth.

- NZ Herald

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