Whyte connection

Zac Purton

With the new season set to kick off on Sunday (1 September), is not alone in his expectation that this year's premiership will dish up a tough and riveting battle for supremacy. With a new trainer on the block, an old foe unfettered and any number of unforeseen twists and turns in the months ahead, the three-time Hong Kong is unsure about how the season's challenges might take shape: “It's hard to say,” he said.

Purton has eight rides on Sunday's 10-race card, Joao Moreira is the only with a full book of 10. “The start of every season is always a little bit wishy-washy,” Purton said. “Some trainers don't prepare their horses to get going early, some trainers do and I don't ride too much for the trainers that really get cracking early. I've been a notoriously slow starter in the past and that's been frustrating but it's just a reflection of the stables that I ride for.”

Purton has one ride – – on the weekend for a past rival and Hong Kong's newest trainer, . “It looks like Douglas has a number of horses that are well-rated and he's got a lot of horses that have come in and are yet to race, and they're probably a little while off,” he said.

“I'm not quite sure who are going to be his go-to jockeys, he seems to have every jockey on the roster there riding work for him, so I don't think he knows himself at the moment, I suppose he'll just play it as it comes along and whoever gels with him and seems to have the luck with him, I'm sure he'll just roll with them, whether that's me or someone else, we'll just have to wait to see.

“I've got a number of stables that I ride for,” he continued, “so I'm not relying on one yard. I think that as we get into the season, that should help me.”

Purton last term set a new record for wins in Hong Kong, thanks largely to the incredible exploits of his most partner, . “The big races and the horses at the top end of town are the ones that I enjoy riding,” he said. “I had a great year last year in the Group 1 races, I've had a good run in all the Group 1 races for a long time now, so I'm just hoping that continues and we can continue to break records and set new benchmarks.”

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