Purton Claims International Jockeys Championship

The three jockeys with a chance to win top prize lined up three abreast for the lead as the field turned for home in the final leg of the Longines International Jockey Championship Dec. 6 at Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong.

The drama fizzled in the stretch run, though, as none of them could hold on for a placing and Zac Purton took the title for the home team on the strength of two earlier wins. Silvestre de Sousa, representing Great Britain, was second in the overall points total, followed by Pierre-Charles Boudot, who rallied to win the final leg and take overall third place.

The other rider still in contention as the fourth race unfolded, Australian Hugh Bowman, was fourth in the final tally. He is set to be honored later in the week in Hong Kong as the Longines World's Best Jockey for 2017.

The lone American-based rider in the competition, Flavien Prat, was shut out in the first three races but finished second in the finale.

 "You need a lot of luck, and I got it in two races," Purton said of the competition.

Purton and de Sousa are familiar with success in Hong Kong, but the last-race heroics were particularly important for Boudot, who will start a two-month contract with the Hong Kong Jockey Club in January.

"I thought it would be really important to win a race tonight with a view to my stint here in January and February," the French rider said. "To finish on the podium in the Championship is the cherry on the cake."