Zac Purton teamed up with trainer John Size to land the HKG1 BMW Hong Kong Derby on Sunday to carry owner Terry Fok Kwong-Hang’s colours to victory aboard Luger (5g Choisir-Miss Conception, by Danzero.)
The son of Choisir, bred in Australia by Bylong Park Thoroughbreds, overcame a wide passage to land the spoils by three-quarters of a length from the deep-closing pair of Got Fly and Romantic Touch in front of a crowd of over 64,000.
“Three wide without cover is not the ideal position to be in, but I just kept telling myself in the back of my head that I was on the best horse in the race and not to worry too much about it – just try to keep him in his rhythm and keep him balanced and keep him happy,” said Purton.
“There wasn’t a stage in the race when I could make a move to go forward, so I wasn’t really left with many other options – I just had to cop it and try and keep him happy and get the job done.”
Luger drew clear of his rivals at the 300-metre point and with a length on his closest pursuers, Purton drove his mount for the line.
“He is a very relaxed horse and he was so switched off during the run that when the tempo quickened prior to the straight, it took him probably 50 or 80 metres to pick up. There are bigger things in store for this horse, he’s very talented!,” added Purton.
The win banished speculation from some quarters that the winner might not last the trip. Luger had compiled a record of five 1,400-metre wins from eight starts prior to scoring on his first attempt at 1,600 metres last time out.
The victory was not a surprise to Size, who added: “Luger’s always been impressive, every time he has been to the races, really. He has been a good horse from the first day he set foot on a racetrack. He made very slow progress because I didn’t race him very much as a three-year-old, and then he has been lightly-raced this season too. But he has always shown that he would be a Group 1 horse.”