Zac Purton lands first $50 winner in seven years – ‘I can’t believe the price, I never ride them’

Zac Purton snared his longest-priced winner in over seven years at Sha Tin on Monday, booting home Caspar Fownes-trained debutant Winning Delight at $51 in the Class Three Better Future 1,400m Handicap.

It was way back in May of 2012 that Purton last had a winner over $50, saluting then with Samadhi for Manfred Man Ka-leung at $55.

He’s had only five winners for the season over $11 and his second-roughest result this term also came for Fownes, with Green Luck saluting at $29 back in November.

But while most of the Australian’s 156 winners this season have been popular with punters, he

showed he can still spring an upset.

“I can’t believe the price, really. I never ride them, even when a horse should be 80-1 and I am on it, it is 20-1,” Purton said. “I had never been on the horse before, I don’t know where it came from to be honest, it was a late pick up.”

After winning once from five starts in Australia, Winning Delight had three quiet trials before surprising even Fownes at his first run in Hong Kong.

“It’s a nice surprise, I didn’t really expect him to be winning and to do that, you’re always happy because it’s something to work with for the future,” Fownes said.

“Of course it’s a surprise when you win first-up in Hong Kong but the horse hasn’t done too much wrong. He’s trialled all right and Zac Purton at 50-1 is a little bit ridiculous. I tipped the quinella in my numbers for the owners, so they should all be happy.”

Booking Purton this season has been no mean feat but Fownes managed to catch him at the right time.

“I texted him late [last] Sunday and he said he was free for two races, so I used him. One was Shamport and one was this horse, both for the same owners. One ran like crap and one won, so it was good,” Fownes said.

Fownes is confident Winning Delight, who was rated 72 before his win, will get another crack at Class Three and is hopeful he can carry on his form next season.

“He’s not going to get much for the win, probably five points, so it’ll be all right,” he said. “If they can get to 90 points you’d be very happy, but it’s a long way ahead.”

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