Ng setting a tough standard - Purton falters
Trainer Pierre Ng has cleared out at the top of our trainer ratings but champion jockey Zac Purton is having concerns.
Purton still sits atop our ratings narrowly ahead of injured Hugh Bowman and fly-in James McDonald but his hold on the top is uncharacteristically weak.
The champion looks to be carrying niggling injuries and Purton has gone the last 2 Hong Kong meetings without a winner, making it 7 winless days from the 22 meetings so far this campaign. For comparison, in the last 10 years, Purton won at 82% of the 806 at which he has ridden and, in the 2022-23 season, won at 74 of 84 meetings where he was engaged.
Dropping to wins at less than 70% of meetings is a significant downturn and it will be interesting to see what pressure McDonald can put on Purton during his 5-week cameo before a more serious challenger in Bowman returns.
Meanwhile, there is no sign of Ng slowing down at the top of the trainers' list and there look to be a couple of keys to his form. He began fast in his first season a year ago but has had even more runners this time - more than a third more - and got a much kinder bounce of the ball in finishes. Ng won with 9% of his runners and had minor placings with a whopping 28% last year but, in 2023, he has won with just under 17 % and the minor placings have been just under 18 per cent of his runners.
It's a lead-at-all-costs approach and there will be a price to pay for setting that speed later in the season but he is flying high now.
(Note, apprentice jockey ratings reflect performances with their allowance "built in". As their claim reduces and they compete on a more equal footing, we expect their rating to deteriorate unless they are top class riders.)
These ratings are updated regularly and are designed to reflect current form but with past figures also putting a brake on hot-streak performers or uplifting a long-term quality player having a quiet run.