The Singapore Turf Club has granted a one-day visiting jockey’s licence to Hong Kong-based jockeys Zac Purton and Karis Teetan for the Group 1 Kranji Mile meeting on 25 May.
Australian jockey Purton, 36, will be at his fifth Singapore big-race pitstop visit riding Hong Kong horses as his main mission. He hit the jackpot at his very first attempt in 2013 when he landed the Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup on Military Attack, before taking out the sister sprint race, the Group 1 KrisFlyer International Sprint on Aerovelocity two years later.
When the two glamour races were discontinued in 2016, Purton did not ride in Singapore until last year with the return of international racing. He duly won the inaugural Group 1 Kranji Mile with Southern Legend, the same horse he will ride in this year’s renewal.
Born in Lismore, New South Wales, Purton plied his early trade in Brisbane where he was crowned champion jockey in 2003 while still an apprentice jockey. He later moved to Sydney where he figured among the leading jockeys before he moved to Hong Kong in 2007.
After a slow start in the former British colony, Purton soon shot through the ranks, becoming the first jockey to end the 13-year reign of champion jockey Douglas Whyte in the 2013/2014 season. He then finished runner-up to arch-rival Joao Moreira in the next three seasons before narrowly claiming his second title in the 2017-2018 season after a titanic battle with Moreira, outbobbing him by two winners – 136 to 134.
Currently well clear in the Hong Kong jockeys' premiership on 119 winners, Purton has all-up chalked up in excess of 950 winners in Hong Kong. Many of those wins came in feature races at Group 1 level, most notably eight at the Hong Kong International Races - one Hong Kong Cup, three Hong Kong Miles, two Hong Kong Sprints and two Hong Kong Vases.
Other notable Sha Tin wins include the Hong Kong Derby, two Champions Miles and three Hong Kong Gold Cups, among others.
Internationally, besides Singapore, Purton made his mark in the 2012 Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes aboard Little Bridge at Royal Ascot, the 2014 Group 1 Caulfield Cup aboard Admire Rakti, the Grade 1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen on Aerovelocity in 2015 and one World Super Jockey Series title in Japan in 2012.
Purton goes to scale at 54kgs.
Mauritian jockey Teetan, 28, has become a regular Kranji visitor since his triumph at his very first foray in 2016 in the Group 2 EW Barker Trophy aboard Lim’s Cruiser for trainer Stephen Gray.
Last May, he steered the Tony Millard-trained Horse Of Fortune to second place to Southern Legend for a Hong Kong 1-2 in the inaugural Group 1 Kranji Mile. Teetan will try to go one better aboard another ward of Millard’s, Singapore Sling, this year.
After tough beginnings as an apprentice jockey in South Africa in 2005, Teetan overcame homesickness and the language barrier to quickly establish himself among the top echelon of his batch. He went on to finish runner-up to Derreck David on the South African apprentice jockey championship in the 2009-2010 season.
Three years later in August 2013, Teetan moved to Hong Kong, getting off to a flying start at his very first ride aboard Amazing Always for South African trainer David Ferraris.
The lightweight jockey went on to bring up an outstanding haul of 50 winners in that rookie season. After another prolific season in 2015-2016 when he finished third on the log, he had a quieter season in 2016-2017, but has bounced back at the next two seasons, finishing third on 52 wins at the last one, including three wins at Group 3 level.
He currently sits a clear second behind reigning champion jockey Zac Purton on 74 winners, fast approaching the 300-win milestone in Hong Kong.
With a total career win tally hovering around the 900-winner mark, chalked up mainly in South Africa and Hong Kong, Teetan counts several feature race wins on his resume, namely the Group 1 Cape Derby and Group 1 Daily News 2000 with Jackson in South Africa, the Group 1 Hong Kong Classic Cup, Group 2 Hong Kong Chairman’s Trophy and Group 2 Hong Kong Premier Bowl at Sha Tin and the Keeneland Korea Sprint aboard the Millard-trained Super Jockey in Seoul in 2016.
Teetan, who, besides Hong Kong, South Africa and South Korea, has also ridden in Australia, Japan, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Macau, goes to scale at 50kgs.