Zac Purton concedes he’s blessed to sit atop the world’s best miler Beauty Generation - the horse who seeks a ninth consecutive win in Sunday’s (28 April) G1 HK$18 million FWD Champions Mile. The horse who, some might claim, is the best in the world given the recent retirement of Winx.
“The best horse I’ve ridden,” Purton says of the Patrick Kwok-owned and John Moore-trained six-year-old.
The 36-year-old Australian-born, Hong Kong-based, jockey also sits on top of the world or as near as one can be it seems. At the peak of his professional game; 1000 Hong Kong wins beckoning; confirmed status among the world’s best riders; International G1 winners on the CV; a happy, healthy family and a champion horse to ride.
Purton acknowledges the significance of Beauty Generation to his career and life in general while insisting every win is significant to him and that the seemingly invincible “Master Miler” is not integral to maintaining his motivation to succeed.
“Life is good,” Hong Kong’s reigning champion says, “things are going well on the track. The family’s good off the track. I’m enjoying my life, where I am, what I’m doing. I’m very lucky.
“And it’s a privilege to be given the opportunity (to ride Beauty Generation). I suppose it was the one thing lacking on my cv, a horse like him. I’d never before had an association with a champion if that’s what you want to call him and I suppose that’s what people are calling him now. It’s nice to have one and hopefully we can keep making the most of it. He’s the best horse I’ve ridden.”
Purton stops short of declaring his undying love for the horse which is in keeping with his renowned steely, focus but respects the animal and concedes his presence adds a little “spring to his step” most mornings.
“I couldn’t say I love him in the sense you love someone but he’s been a great horse to me and hopefully he continues to be a great horse. Only having the two meetings per week and just going through the grind of it week in and week out, of course you do look forward to riding the quality horses in the big races at the big meetings and it’s nice when a special horse like him comes along.
“It makes it more enjoyable. He’s a fantastic horse. I don’t need him to continue to stay focused and keep doing what I’m doing but it does give you that extra little bit of joy to be able to come to the track every day and look forward to riding him when he gets to the races,” he said.
As to what makes Beauty Generation so good, Purton says that’s difficult to pin-point but he does believe the gelding’s responsiveness to whatever he’s asked to do, in a race, is a key factor.
“Yes he’s a nice horse to look at. Yes he’s a nice horse to ride, yes he gallops fast but to say what makes him better than the rest I don’t really know. There’s not one thing I can absolutely put my finger on, it’s hard to explain. He just gets the job done.
“Yes, he is versatile and responsive so in that regard he’s a really nice horse to ride and that’s part of his strength. You can ride him on a lovely long rein, he just drops his head and cruises along. He’s a horse that does what you want him to do in a race.
“Clearly, he’s a horse who likes to lead, he likes to bowl along. As I’ve said before I think he’s very effective in fast run races because he can absorb that pressure and he just seems to cruise so comfortably and then he can kick off that speed. Horses trying to stay with him seem to fall in a hole and the ones back in the field have a lot to do to try to catch him,” Purton said. -HKJC