A race that has been dominated by Australian horses for a decade became the property of an expatriate Queensland jockey at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.
Zac Purton, who has ridden in Hong Kong for the past five years, followed the trail of such horses as Choisir, Takeover Target, Miss Andretti and Scenic Blast by winning the G1 King’s Stand Stakes (1000m) on Little Bridge.
Given a perfect ride, Little Bridge (12-1) surged to the front at the 200m and held on strongly to beat the local sprinter Bated Breath by three-quarters-of-a-length.
Having his first ride in Britain, Purton declared Little Bridge the equal of any horse he’s ridden
“He’s up there with the best I’ve been on and he’s given me a great thrill,” Purton said.
“It means everything to me to come here and ride a winner.
“It’s every jockey’s dream to ride a winner at Royal Ascot.”
Purton said Little Bridge’s straight track ability and his own familiarity with the horse had made the victory all the easier.
“Because I’ve ridden him a lot I knew exactly what he’d got left and when I pressed the button he kicked nicely,” he said.
Australian runner Ortensia finished ninth after looming at the 300m mark but failing to run on.