Purton Overthrows Hong Kong’s Champion

Gr1 FWD Champions Mile

Golden Sixty’s bid for a record fourth HK$22 million Gr1 FWD Champions Mile crown was thwarted by a familiar foe at Sha Tin on Sunday.

Beauty Eternal makes all to secure his first Group 1 win (Pic – HKJC)

Zac Purton is that nemesis. He’s now toppled Hong Kong’s champion in three separate Group 1 races aboard Waikuku, California Spangle and the latest, Beauty Eternal.

Pressing forward to take up an uncontested lead, the John Size-trained Beauty Eternal settled in the unfamiliar position at the head of the field as an 11/1 chance.

Golden Sixty loomed large in the home straight, however, an incredible 27th victory at his 31st start was not meant to be for the world’s highest earning horse.

Stepping away at odds of 1.5, Golden Sixty finished three and a quarter length behind Beauty Eternal, who collected his first top-level victory in 1m 34.52s ahead of stablemate Red Lion, while Voyage Bubble finished third.

“There was no speed in the race, which gave us the opportunity to lead. The last thing I said to John before the race was ‘I think the going is a lot better on the fence’, he just got into a lovely rhythm and controlled the race,” Purton said.

“I thought the only chance I had to beat Golden Sixty was to try to put a gap on them and see how we went and today was his day.

“I always felt there was always something a bit more there, but he just always wants to do things wrong in the straight in his races and he can’t let down to his full potential – and today we saw that on the rail.”

Previously defeated on yielding ground, the Francis Lui-trained Golden Sixty was forced to overcome the same obstacle after persistent rain throughout the week and earlier this morning, which unfortunately for the champ, nullified his electrifying dash.

Zac Purton celebrates the win (Pic – HKJC)

Jockey Vincent Ho said: “Golden Sixty ran well. The ground was not in our favour. When I hit the straight, I could already feel he could not pick up with his usual turn of foot.

“I know it’s a bit difficult. It is what it is, we can’t fight the weather. I was in a great position and everything was close to the speed, but still we couldn’t improve on that ground.”

Victory is Purton’s third in the FWD Champions Mile after prevailing atop Beauty Generation (2018 & 2019) for the same ownership – Patrick Kwok of the Kwok family.

“They’re really good owners to ride for, as well, they love their racing, they’re involved, they spend a lot of money, so they deserve their success. I’m just lucky I’m part of it and I’ve had some success in these colours in this race on this day, so it’s nice to get another one for them,” Purton said.

Size has previously won the FWD Champions Mile three times with Electronic Unicorn (2003), Sight Winner (2009) and Contentment (2017).

“His form said he was going to win a big race and eventually he got around to it. Actually, he’s not much overdue. This is his five-year-old season and usually they run their good races when they’re five.

“I think he’s done his best today for this season. I’d be surprised if he had another run like that in him. He seemed to put everything into it today,” Size said.

The 12-time Hong Kong Champion Trainer is expecting more from Beauty Eternal, who has now won nine times from 17 starts with earnings of HK$35.75 million.

“When he comes back next season, depending on whether he develops any problems or not, he’s certainly capable of winning another one given the circumstances,” he said.

Size was also proud of Red Lion, who now boasts two Group 1 placings.

“He’s been amazing. His improvement has been little by little – he doesn’t do it in big chunks. Before this season all of his wins have been at 1400m but now he has got a couple of very good placings at the mile and he’s become stronger and stronger,” Size said.

Galaxy Patch was fifth, while Taj Dragon finished sixth. Beauty Joy could only manage seventh, while Elton Barows, Brave Emperor, Obamburumai and Champagne Color were the final four to cross the finish line.

Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday.

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