Hong Kong


Purton, Boudot take riding honours with doubles

The Danny Shum-trained Pick Number One maintained his unbeaten record on dirt at Sha Tin on Saturday when winning the Class 3 Oak Maritime Handicap (1200m) under Zac Purton.

Pick Number One took his career record to three wins, all on dirt, from four starts on both surfaces when scoring a three-quarter length victory. However, Purton thinks the three-year-old might be in need of a break now. 

Zac Purton gets enough out of Pick Number One to win the Class 3 Oak Maritime Handicap, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club

“He’s done a good job to come as far as he has, but quite possibly he’s at the end of it,” Purton said. “There was a lot more pressure in the race today, he was a little bit uncomfortable on the corner so he’s done well to balance himself up again and find like he did. However, he was gassed on the line.”

Shum indicated that a spell would be on the cards for Pick Number One (126lb), with the handler slightly disappointed by the Darci Brahma gelding’s win over Chung Wah Spirit (130lb).

“He’s a nice horse but it is a little bit disappointing, I thought he would’ve won a bit easier,” the trainer said. “I spoke to the owner, and we’d like to give him a six to eight week break and freshen him up.”

Pick Number One was one of two promising three-year-olds ridden by Purton, with the Australian rider partnering unbeaten galloper Lean Perfection to his second win in the Class 4 Great Harvest Group Handicap (1200m).

“He’s been working really well,” Purton said. “I was caught wide without cover but they really slowed up in the middle of the race so it actually helped my cause to a certain extent. When I clicked him up, he showed a good turn of foot and he has a nice will to win – he has plenty of scope.”

The other jockey to score a double on the card was Pierre-Charles Boudot. The Frenchman scored his first Sha Tin win aboard Shum’s G-One Union in the opener, the Class 5 Hong Kong Shipowners Association Handicap (1400m). He then quickly made it a double in the following race when steering David Ferraris-trained Ambitious Heart – the younger brother of Shum’s stable star Seasons Bloom – to a narrow victory in the Class 4 Wah Kwong Maritime Transport Handicap (1400m).

“This is a very good rider, very strong – there’s something very much like Christophe Soumillon with Pierre-Charles,” Ferraris said. “Plenty of similarities. It was a tremendous ride, he got him into a tremendous spot and it was great to watch.”

Racing returns to Happy Valley on Wednesday night before the first leg of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series, the Hong Kong Classic Mile, next Sunday.

Pierre-Charles Boudot returns after winning aboard Ambitious Heart. The Frenchman scored his first double in Hong Kong, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club