Hong Kong (AFP) - Australian star jockey Zac Purton sealed a clinical victory at the Hong Kong Cup on Sunday at the city's Longines International Races, one of the world's richest race meetings with a total purse of $10.8 million (HK$84.5 million).
Purton dominated the race from start to finish with four-year-old gelding Time Warp and completed the 2,000-metre course in just over two minutes and one second.
"He's got a high cruising speed and obviously he can kick off that, so when nothing attacks him you can see how good he is today," the winning jockey said of Time Warp after the race.
Fellow Australian Tommy Berry finished second on Werther, while Neorealism, ridden by Brazilian jockey João Moreira, finished third.
The Hong Kong Cup is the highlight of the four Group One events at the annual meet at Shatin Racecourse — which also includes the Hong Kong Mile, the Hong Kong Sprint and the Hong Kong Vase.
It is also the city's richest race with a total prize money of HK$25 million.
Before clinching his first Hong Kong Cup, Purton was already on a winning streak last year, finishing second on Secret Weapon in the 2016 race and claiming victory in both the Mile and Sprint events. He won the Vase race in 2013.
"The jigsaw is complete, so I'm pretty happy about that," said Purton.
Beauty Generation snapped up the 1,600-metre Hong Kong Mile for leading local jockey Derek Leung — the first Group One win for both horse and rider — whose front-running performance lasted all the way to the finish line.
"He never stops and we dictated the pace early on," said Leung of the horse afterward.
Australian jockey Nash Rawiller emerged victorious in the 1,200-metre Sprint event with rising star Mr Stunning, who overtook stablemate D B Pin in the final stretch.
Earlier in the day British jockey Ryan Moore rode Ireland’s Highland Reel to a memorable victory in the 2,400-metre Hong Kong Vase as the five-year-old capped off its career in style before retiring.