5 Sep 2021

With Price Bloodstock horses already bristling talent through the four-year-old ranks, it didn’t take long at all to add another name to the list when Nervous Witness made his hugely impressive race debut at Sha Tin’s opening day of the new season.

In the colours of Price Bloodstock’s most famous champion, Silent Witness – Archie da Silva’s black with green crossed sashes – jockey Zac Purton looked guilty of loitering as he hardly moved a muscle during the sprinter’s romp down the straight 1000m course, running faster time than the higher class sprint earlier in the card, despite never being fully tested.

While most of the da Silva horses have been with Tony Cruz in the last 17 years, Nervous Witness marked the occasion of the da Silvas getting back with their original training partner, David Hayes, who had prepared the outstanding Prime Witness for them.

And Hayes was excited by the dreams ahead for his new star.

“I think that’s the most impressive debut I’ve had since I’ve been back in Hong Kong, that was pretty easy,” Hayes said. “Apart from his trial, he’s never been let go, so that’s what is so exciting about the horse – he hasn’t been drilled down for the race. You don’t see Zac Purton look around that many times do you? I could have run him last season and I just thought he would be better as a second-season horse with a trial and then a back off then a build-up. He’ll go through the classes pretty quickly I think, I expect him to win a few in a row.”

Despite the manner of the win, Purton said there was room for some improvement.

“As far as first starters go, for the good ones, that’s what you expect them to do, right? It was just a matter of seeing how he would handle race day,” Purton said. “He was a little bit on edge in the parade. He’s got a little bit to learn but he’s obviously blessed with natural ability, he moves well. He was strong through the line so he’s an exciting horse going forward.”