If the mark of a champion is how they respond to being challenged then Zac Purton stacks up pretty well.
Karis Teetan drew level with the Aussie at the top of the table on 24 winners at Sha Tin on Saturday when Danny Shum’s Clement Legend justified favouritism in R1, but Purton fired back by landing three of the next five races on Right Choice, Witness Hunter and You Have My Word.
Frankie Lor’s Right Choice looked a bright prospect when carrying the champion to an emphatic AWT debut in R3, while stablemate Witness Hunter (131lb) is another whose best days lie ahead judged on the way he held fast-finishing City Legend (129lb) in R5.
Lor said: “I was worried about Right Choice early on as Zac had to push him but he found his rhythm in the straight and I’m sure he will be suited by a bit further than 1200m in time.
“Zac said Witness Hunter was still looking around when he got to the front, but he’s only three and I hope he can continue to improve once he moves up to Class 3.
Benno Yung is looking forward to sending Pingwu Spark in against the best next week and celebrated another grey day with You Have My Word (127lb).
The seven-year-old is by the same sire as his stable star (Mastercraftsman) and was produced with precision timing by Purton to thwart Bring It On (124lb) in the last strides of R6.
Moore at the double thanks to Poon’s drive and “a gem” from Callan
John Moore described himself as “ecstatic” that his stable star Beauty Generation is now the world’s highest rated specialist turf miler in the LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings and was given two more reasons to be cheerful by Victory Machine and Taking Aim.
Matthew Poon has run into trouble with the stewards this season but continues to prosper despite the loss of his apprentice claim and Victory Machine gave him his first winner as a senior rider with a last-gasp success in R4.
Poon rode his 14th winner of the season when aboard Nuclear Power in R9, while Taking Aim recorded his first Hong Kong success with a decisive performance in R7, leaving Callan delighted to partner his fourth winner of the season.
“Neil gave him a gem of a ride,” said Moore. “In his track work Taking Aim tries to do everything too quickly but today he did everything right and I’m expecting another win out of him now he’s growing up."
Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday, 14 November.
Witness Hunter gives Zac Purton and Frankie Lor their second winner of the day, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club