After familiarising himself with his Caulfield Cup mount Admire Rakti, Zac Purton is enthusiastic about the Japanese stayer’s chances in the $3 million handicap.
Purton headed to the Werribee quarantine centre on Saturday morning to acquaint himself with the gelding in a lead-up gallop to the Caulfield Cup (2400m).
The Hong Kong-based Australian jockey was in Melbourne to ride Sacred Falls in the Caulfield Stakes in which the dual Doncaster Mile winner finished fourth.
Saturday’s Caulfield Cup weights will be raised 2kg to ensure a minimum topweight of 58kg which will be Admire Rakti.
Purton secured the mount after a successful riding stint in Japan earlier this year.
“I didn’t ride for the trainer or the owner while I was there but I had done pretty well and they were impressed by how I was going.” Purton said.
“They had these races in mind and they approached me to ride the horse.
Purton said he was impressed with how the seven-year-old handled himself during the hit-out.
“I was impressed by what I felt,” Purton said.
“He was a little bit fresh and up on the bridle and went a little bit stronger than I would have liked for a stayer through his work.
“But when he came into the straight I gave him his head and he quickened up quite nicely and ran right through the line.
“He had a good blow pulling up but he’s in pretty good order.”
Purton isn’t concerned about Admire Rakti having his first Australian start at Caulfield rather than Flemington in the Melbourne Cup and believes whatever the gelding does on Saturday he will improve on.
“I think he’s got the speed to run well around Caulfield,” Purton said.
“The way he worked he still feels like he’s got the speed in his legs and he did run fourth in a Japan Cup at this trip.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a problem, but they all seem to think he’s going to be better second-up than what he is first-up as he takes a run to blow the cobwebs out.
“I’ve got to respect their thoughts on how the horse goes and competes, but I think he’s sharp enough to run well first time out.”
Fellow Japanese visitor Bande headed to Caulfield on Saturday morning where he walked and cantered and got a good look at the surroundings with connections reporting all was well with the stayer.