Zac Purton back from Hong Kong on a Caulfield Cup mission
Jockey Zac Purton flew into Melbourne on a mission on Friday to take another Caulfield Cup back to Hong Kong, this time for Germany.
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When the call came to ride the Andreas Wohler-trained Articus in the Caulfield Cup, Purton relished the challenge to continue his plundering of major Australia races.
“When I left [to ride in Hong Kong] I really hadn’t had that many chances to ride in these sort of races, so when the chance comes to be on a good one in them I love getting on the plane,” Purton said. “Australia is where I’m from and to win a Caulfield Cup was one my dreams.”
Zac Purton won the Caulfield Cup on Admire Rakti in 2014. Photo: Getty Images
Purton achieved dream that two years ago – on Admire Rakti – one of six Australian group 1s he has flown in to win in the past couple of years, including a Doncaster on Sacred Falls and this year’s Sires Produce Stakes on Yankee Rose. He has also lifted group 1s in Japan and Singapore after flying in from Hong Kong.
He has become one of the best jockeys in the world since winning his first group 1 on Excites in the Sire Produce Stakes 10 years ago.
“You have to come ready [when you fly in] and being on the right horse, that always helps” Purton said. “It is something you get used to, but preparation plays a big part because you need to know what is going to happen in the race. It is not a case of just turning up.”
Purton has studied the form for the Caulfield Cup after he took the ride on Articus last month. He believes the high pressure nature of the cup makes it a riders’ race where getting on the right horse is only part of the puzzle for victory.
“I got booked for Articus about three weeks ago and he looks to be the right horse, he has a turn of foot and will stay. He should suit the way this race will be run,” Purton said.
“He is only lightly raced but he looks a horse that has the speed to cope with the pressure. I would have liked to drawn in a bit more in [Articus will jump from gate 11] but I think he can take up a position from there.
“There is always a lot of pressure going to the first turn so you need to be able to handle it and I think he will.
“It is a race where getting the right drag into it is important. You can’t get stopped and start again, because they run along too hard and any trouble will finish your race.”