Purton holds off Doyle and Marquand in Hong Kong challenge

Tom Marquand and Hollie Doyle had to settle for a share of second place as Zac Purton took the Longines International Jockeys’ Championship in Hong Kong for the third time.

Purton, who is based in the former UK colony, lifted the prize despite not riding a winner in the four-leg series.

His tally of 16 points, thanks to three seconds and a third, was enough to give him victory over Doyle, Marquand, James McDonald and Mickael Barzalona. They were all on 12 points after each riding a winner.

Marquand produced Awesome Treasure with a pulsating late run to take the first leg for trainer David Hayes.

Purton looked like making all on Circuit Seven, but Awesome Treasure picked up strongly for Marquand and got up close home to win by half a length. Fabulous Eight pipped Circuit Seven by a neck for second spot.

Marquand said: “My first foreign forays were down in Australia for David when I’d had just under a year’s riding and I had a bit of success there. It’s absolutely great to be back riding for him here.

“This win ranks extremely highly in my career because riding against the world’s best jockeys, it’s pretty hard to top.”

Not to be outdone, Marquand’s partner Hollie Doyle landed the second leg on Viva Hunter, just edging out Purton on Glorious Lover by a nose.

Doyle said: “I thought I had been headed home. It (winning) is just as good if not better (than last year). It’s good to have a crowd here, it lifts the atmosphere and I’m blessed to have had the luck I’ve had.

“It’s very special to win against the world’s best jockeys and it’s a huge honour for Tom and I to be asked back here.”

Purton was also just touched off in the remaining two legs. McDonald took leg three on Invincible Missile from Amazing One Plus, with the Barzalona-ridden Elon taking the fourth and final leg. The winning margin in both races was a short head.

Of another triumph as top rider, Purton said: “I came here a little bit worried about the quality of horses I was riding and knew that I was going to need things go my way and luckily I was able to get some nice runs on them and give them their chances.

“It was a bit frustrating I kept getting beaten in those photos, but I suppose that makes for good racing and a good competition. The points added up, it’s very satisfying.”

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