On the new turf Hong Kong’s former jockey premiership winner Zac Purton returned to his home province in Australia with a mission to capture a career highlight missing from his impressive international success, a home-state Group 1 victory.
Purton teamed up with New Zealand trainer Tony Pike and Pike’s rising star, two-year-old colt Sacred Elixir (NZ) in the Group 1 JJ Atkins Stakes (1600m). The son of English Derby winner Pour Moi (IRE) then demolished the field with Purton confidently sending the colt forward from the 600m mark, and four wide, to win with a 3 1/2L margin easing down.
The Hong Kong connections kept going through the entire programme with Purton winning the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m) with Cradle Me, Hong Kong current leading rider Joao Moreira winning the Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m) with Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller’s Tsaritsa and Hong Kong trainer John Moore owning Eagle Way, trained by Brian Guy on the Gold Coast, who won the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) with Tommy Berry riding.
With mission accomplished Purton flew back to Hong Kong overnight to ride three winners at the Sha Tin meeting the following day.
Pike was not finished with Sacred Elixir’s win, sending out the Zabeel filly Provocative (NZ) to win the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m), while Melbourne trainer Robert Smerdon provided a home country win with Under The Louve in the feature Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).