That sealed a treble on the day for the champion jockey and handed trainer John Moore a sixth win in the annual Hong Kong leg of the Interport challenge.
Good Standing (124lb) raced home in a fast time of 1m 20.79s, a shade off the track record of 1m 20.31s. The Australian import will now point towards trying to secure a first Group race since he landed the G3 Caulfield Classic (2000m) in October 2016.
“There’s a mile race in early June, the (G3) Lion Rock Trophy Handicap, and another option for him at the end of June (G3 Premier Cup [1400m]). He’d be competitive again because he’s holding his form well. He’s not over-raced this season so there is plenty left in the tank,” Moore said.
“He’s come out today and done what I wanted him to do and he came close to the track record so, yes, couldn't be happier.”
Good Standing broke sharply form stall five and led the field until stablemate Encouraging rushed on by after 300m. Purton settled fourth, stalking Mission Tycoon in a “one-off” spot, and when that rival kicked to the lead, the champion jockey remained still, allowing his mount to roll in rhythmic pursuit.
Purton finally shook the reins when Good Standing drew upsides the Hong Kong Classic Cup hero at the 200m mark. The classy bay drew away for an easy two and a quarter-length score.
“This race set up well for him,” Purton said. “He didn't have a lot of weight on his back, drew a nice gate and had a nice run; he was just able to suck into it and go bang late. It was ideal for him.”
Owner Martin Siu purchased the Artie Schiller gelding as a 2018 BMW Hong Kong Derby prospect but a series of issues put paid to those dreams. It has taken plenty of patience and skill for Moore to get his charge back on the up this term.
“John has done a great job with him,” Purton said. “He’s had a number of issues for a while now. This season John has been able to present him as well as he can and he’s been racing very consistently.”
Moore was confident ahead of the 2.4 favourite’s success as he launches a challenge for the trainer’s premiership. The handler ended the day equal second with Frankie Lor, seven behind defending champion John Size.
“Good Standing came into the race so well in himself, he looked a picture in the paddock and he had trained so well. Even on the soft track the other day, which wasn't that suitable, he still ran a big race. He’s got the form around Waikuku and the other horse (Champion’s Way) that beat him, that's good form, that’s Group 1 form and he’s only just been beaten a few times by some very good horses.
“We did have setbacks right from the beginning, but we righted the ship, we got it right and pulled it off today,” he added. “I didn't want to go over ground and risk another bleed, so that’s why we’ve stuck to the 1400 and mile.”
Mission Tycoon (127lb) held second ahead of third-placed Lean Perfection (117lb). The K H Leong-trained Pearl Green (122lb) was first home of the five Macau-trained horses in fourth under Oscar Chavez.
Purton opened his afternoon’s account on the Dennis Yip-trained Glenealy Generals in the Class 4 Macau-Taipa Bridge Handicap (1200m). That was race four on the card and he followed up in the next, section one of the Class 4 Friendship Bridge Handicap, on the Manfred Man-trained Ultimate Glory.
Paul O’Sullivan struck early, not once but twice. The New Zealander has endured a sluggish campaign but things have picked up in recent weeks and wins in the afternoon’s first two races took his tally to 19.
“There is still plenty to come in the next six weeks with a few of the new horses like Chicken Dance, so we should win a couple more races, then we have a holiday and start again,” O’Sullivan said.
“The good thing about next season is Conghua – I can ship the early ones up there. I think last season was too good – too many of them won too many races and got too high in the handicap for the quality of horse they were. Hopefully some of these new ones can come through.
“It’s a reset… hit the redial button!”
Karis Teetan kicked off the handler’s brace on Fortune Patrol in the Class 5 Lotus Bridge Handicap (1800m); Joao Moreira followed that with a cool victory on Never Better in the Class 5 Sai Van Bridge Handicap (1400m).
“Joao knows him really well – the horse has got a run on him as short as from here to that fence,” O’Sullivan gestured, “so he sat, sat, sat – it was a clever ride.”
Moreira took the third on the David Hall-trained Intrepic. The 36/1 longshot sauntered to a three-length win in section two of the Class 4 Friendship Bridge Handicap (1400m).
And the three-time Hong Kong champion jockey was on the mark in section one of the Class 4 Macau-Taipa Bridge Handicap (1200m) thanks to the flaxen-maned, white-flashed chestnut Beauty Applause from the Size stable.
Speedy King (113lb) made the stands’ side rail count when holding Refined Treasure (118lb) by a nose in the Class 2 Macau Handicap (1000m). Ricky Yiu’s charge scored under Matthew Chadwick.
Trainer Chris So and jockey Chad Schofield partnered for double success. The duo took the Class 3 Taipa Handicap (1200m) with top-weight Team Spirit working hard for the lead and then boxing on to a half-length win.
And the pair grabbed the finale, the Class 3 Coloane Handicap (1400m) when Schofield drew a surging late drive from Guy Dragon that denied the Purton-ridden and O’Sullivan-trained 2.1 favourite Band Of Brothers. The margin was a neck.
Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday 15 May.