It was Mark Twain who reminded everyone that rumors of his death had been vastly exaggerated.
At Shatin on National Day, Zac Purton reminded those and their loudest whispers that he was going through a “dry spell” that every dry spell has a silver lining and how you simply can’t keep a good jockey- make that a great jockey- down.
Simply put, with his two winners, The Zac Attack was seen at its most lethal with riding displays right up there with the best in the world.(It could easily have been four winning rides but why be greedy?)
As with anything in life, you do your best and let the results speak for themselves and the jockey went about business as usual- no over-the-top acting for the cameras, no backflips, no eggflips.
What we cannot understand is why Purton is not riding in every big race in Australia.
It’s not a question of being “better” than Boss, Williams, Bowman, Rawiller, McEvoy, Cassidy, Oliver etc; It’s about being given the opportunity to show Australia how far he has come and why he deserves to be competing with the best his home has.
Zac Purton not being offered a decent ride at the upcoming Spring Carnival is beyond comprehension and boggles the mind.
Talk about turnover from Hong Kong and suddenly having the star power to get Chinese punters even more interested in what will be some of the best racing in Australia!
Where’s the vision gone? Have racing clubs suddenly become geographically challenged? Have racing people been conned by their own Hohot hype and cock-eyed optimism?
While at it, let’s not underrate Tye Angland.
When granted a license to ride in Hong Kong, many, including us and a number of others in Oz, asked, Huh?Why him? while others said, Who?
Tye Angland might be under the radar and not a “high profile” rider, but anyone who knows anything about horse racing and skill would place the rider right up there.
His winning ride today on Go Baby Go was one of the best we’ve seen. Tye a yellow ribbon, indeed.
Over the years, Hong Kong, with its diverse group of riders from around the world, have made jockeys with potential some of the best in the world.
It’s also made them grow up fast, realize that Okay is not good enough and how there is very little chance of improvement when riding against the same jockeys with the same styles day in and day out.
If you don’t believe us, ask the great Darren Beadman. Or Michael Kinane.
Familiarity breeds contempt and it also creates big fish in a very small pond along with extremely overrated riders due to a fawning and, largely, parochial racing media.
Hong Kong, in the meantime, has always been the best learning school where one competes with the best from around the world and each with their own styles.
It’s not only about stalk, stalk, stalking and then going for that one run.
It’s learning that one size- or style- doesn’t fit all and through riding against great South African riders like Bart Leisher, Felix Coetzee, below, Basil Marcus and, today, Douglas Whyte with new boy Karis Teetan waiting in the wings.
It’s doing battle against the genius of Christophe Soumillon, below, the guile and experience of Gerard Mosse and the youthful exuberance of Guyon and Barzalona.
In October, Brazilian Joao Moreira joins this melting pot of riding talent. The thought of him matching wits and talent with Whyte, Teetan, Mosse, Doleuze, Angland and Purton is something for racing fans around the world to savor.
To showcase the difference in racing around the world, perhaps a series of Jockey Challenges such as Hong Kong versus Sydney or Melbourne- or Australia- or Europe etc- could begin?
It would certainly bring something more substantial to the global racing table that those annual Hong Kong-Macau jousts- and more than a few jests.