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Monday, Sep 21, 2020

Zac Purton’s season one of the best in Hong Kong racing history, record or not

The Australian’s performance in 2018-19 ensures he will forever be recognised alongside the greatest to have ever graced the jurisdiction
Zac Purton is still an outside chance of reaching the all-time mark of 170 wins in a season, but record or not, his effort this term belongs in the pantheon of Hong Kong racing.

The Australian jockey has 166 winners from 670 rides entering Sunday’s final meeting, trailing Joao Moreira’s record from 2016-17 by four, but even if he falls short at Sha Tin, it is still one of the greatest seasons ever.

Purton has already shattered the record for most prize money earned in a term (his HK$233.4 million already HK$26 million more than the previous mark), while his seven Group One victories (from just 12 races) also stands alone. His partnership with superstar Beauty Generation is renowned worldwide.

But aside from the raw numbers, what makes it so impressive is the degree of difficulty.

Purton is rarely able to ride below 120 pounds (he has had two winners at 119) – ruling out about a quarter of the horses in every race.

Even allowing for claiming one or two pounds over the allocated weight, there have been 160 winners who carried 118 pounds or less this season. Purton is not physically capable of riding any of them.

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