Purton's poise can help The Judge lay down the law
2.45 Happy Valley
3.15 Happy Valley
0.5pt each-wayThe battle for the Hong Kong jockeys' title between Zac Purton and Joao Moreira is building to an absorbing final few chapters.
Moreira is just four ahead after Purton fired in a Sunday four-timer – remarkably, the dominant duo have ridden three-quarters of all favourites over the last five weeks–and the gloves are off judged on the way the Brazilian tried to hem his Aussie rival in during Sunday's closing contests.
Every winner is precious with just 15 meetings left and Purton can make amends for one that got away when he gets back aboard The Judge for bang-in-form Caspar Fownes in the 2.45.
Riding the inner rail can often pay dividends at Happy Valley, but the desire to save ground in a steadily-run race leftThe Judge tangled up in traffic here two weeks ago.
An impressive final 400m split of 23.14secs was not quite enough to win the day, but The Judge proved he is still on the up by forging clear for second and he is still ahead of the handicapper from a 2lb higher rating.
Wide draws have made life tricky for Purton aboard Valley specialist Starlight recently, but stallsix is more attractive in the finale (3.50) and Dennis Yip's gelding looks poised to return to his best.
Gold Velvet blossomed on his debut for Tony Millard when bolting up here recently. A follow-up looks likely in the 1.45, while Gorgeous King (Cape Clear Island in his Ballydoyle days) can also go close for the wisecracking South African maestro in the 2.15.
Tony Cruz's gelding has paid for helping force a fierce gallop on his last two starts, but the need to show more patience behind a handful of rapid front runners can help him go well at what should be a double-figure price.
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