December 9th is International Jockeys’ Championship from Hong Kong

Source: HKJC

Joao Moreira expects the LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship to be highly competitive as a wave of class internationals head to Happy Valley

 

By Leo Schlink

 Joao Moreira predicts a galaxy of international star jockeys will swiftly adapt to Happy Valley’s unique contours as 12 of the world’s best riders vie for LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship glory on Wednesday 9 December.

As one of four previous winners of the four-race format in this year’s contest, the 2020/21 championship-leading jockey believes Wednesday’s competition looms as one of the most even in the event’s history – a sentiment echoed by the Brazilian’s great championship rival Zac Purton.

“There’s no doubt it’s going to be a very interesting jockeys’ challenge,” Moreira said.

“It looks like the club has done a good job to share the rides to everyone else in a fair way.

“I’m actually happy with the rides I’ve got. There’s no doubt we can have some fun.

“These races are going to be very even races. From the first to the fifth horse, there won’t be much difference.

“Luck is going to play a lot of luck in this game.”

Sha Tin Hong KongAllocated Gouten Of Garo, Royal Racer, Smiling City and Cue The Music, Moreira is impressed by the depth of talent among the visiting riders as Hollie Doyle, Tom Marquand, Ryan Moore, Mickael Barzalona, Pierre-Charles Boudot and William Buick attempt to land the top prize – racing’s richest for such a competition – of HK$500,000.

 “I have no doubt local jockeys have the advantage of riding every day on the city track but don’t forget these jockeys are coming over here, they are high quality jockeys and they are able to adapt very quickly, understand and pick up from everybody, even watching replays,” Moreira said.

“I would describe Happy Valley as one of the most difficult places to adapt and get used to but I also don’t underestimate these guys that are coming because if they’ve been selected, there are no doubts they are good jockeys and they are going to get used to it quick and do the best they can on this track straight away.”

Moreira, winner of the LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship in 2012, believes Royal Racer will acquit himself well in the Second Leg of the series, a Class 4 contest over 1650m.

“He actually won very impressively with me on last time. If he’s able to able produce what he did last time, I think he’s going to be a very hard horse to beat and I would have him as my best ride of the jockeys’ challenge,” he said.

“Most of the races on the card, particularly of the jockeys’ challenge, seem to be even and if you’re lucky enough to get a good run through, you might win with a horse that might not be one of top favorites.

“It seems like Ryan Moore, as usual, gets good rides. Boudot, also, has decent rides.”

Purton, seeking his second victory in the series after the Australian’s 2017 triumph, will partner Hey Pal, Fearless Fire, Gift Of Lifeline and Flying Bonus.

“It looks a lot more even this year,” he said.

“I don’t have the strongest rides. I have rides that can run some sort of race.

“Hopefully I can have a bit of luck there somewhere and you never know what can happen.”

 Doyle will attempt to crown a supreme 2020 with victory aboard last start Sha Tin winner Harmony N Blessed for David Hayes.

The LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship meeting starts at Happy Valley on Wednesday 9 December with the running of the Class 5 Australia Handicap (1650m) at 6.30pm.

Allocated jockey rides
Alexis Badel (Hong Kong) – Farm Bumper, Gallant Crown, Hang’s Decision, Lucky Quality.

Mickael Barzalona (France) – Young Victory, Thunder Stomp, Savaquin, Mehboob.

Pierre-Charles Boudot (France) – Jazz Steed, Maldives, Reel Bizzy, Storm Warnings.

William Buick (Great Britain) – Happy Good Guys, Regency Master, Noble Steed, Beauty Spark.

Neil Callan (Hong Kong) – Winner’s Heart, Lady First, Lightning Steed, Meridian Genius.

Hollie Doyle (Great Britain) – Happily Friends, Universal Go Go, Sunny Lad, Harmony N Blessed.

Vincent Ho (Hong Kong) – Travel Datuk, Anonyma, Hall of Champ, What A Legend.

Tom Marquand (Great Britain) – Very Sweet Orange, Nunchuks, Surrealism, Wind N Grass.

Ryan Moore (Great Britain) – Packing Champion, Play Wise, Jolly Honour, Grateful Heart.

Joao Moreira (Hong Kong) – Gouten Of Garo, Royal Racer, Smiling City, Cue The Music.

Zac Purton (Hong Kong) – Hey Pal, Fearless Fire, Gift Of Lifeline, Flying Bonus.

Karis Teetan (Hong Kong) – Oversubscribed, Right Honourable, Helene Wisdom Star, Winston’s Lad.

Full replay: LONGINES IJC jockeys’ allocation draw ceremony

Kentucky Derby or 2000 Guineas: Which Classic Will Ryan Moore Ride in Come May 5?

“The Kentucky Derby is a race on my bucket list, but we’ll have to see what’s best to do closer to the time.”

If you’re a horse racing fan and haven’t already circled May 5 as a date in your diary, then here’s a brief and gentle reminder why you should.

On one side of the Atlantic, the first Classic of the British and Irish flat season takes place at Newmarket, with the 2000 Guineas centre stage. In the Bluegrass State, meanwhile, Churchill Downs hosts the Kentucky Derby – the culmination of a two-week racing festival in Louisville.

Ryan Moore by Ogiyoshisan

The all-conquering stable of master Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien and the Coolmore owners take aim at valuable and prestigious races all over the world these days. For evidence of that, see Mendelssohn’s 18-lengths-plus romp in the UAE Derby as the colt left the field in his wake on the dirt under Ryan Moore at Meydan.

Such globetrotting exploits – Mendelssohn also landed the Juvenile Turf race at the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar on his previous start and final one of last season – present connections with a problem. A nice one to have to be sure, but Moore cannot ride both the ante-post Kentucky Derby fancy and either Saxon Warrior or Gustav Klimt in the 2000 Guineas.

What would you do? Well, current odds suggests Moore will be getting the leg up Stateside rather than riding at Newmarket. He’s odds-on with leading British and Irish bookmakers for Churchill Downs.

A big factor behind that short price are words from the jockey himself. Speaking after Mendelssohn bolted up in the United Arab Emirates, Moore said: “The Kentucky Derby is a race on my bucket list, but we’ll have to see what’s best to do closer to the time.”

Given Mendelssohn is clear 5/1 favorite in the latest horse racing betting with bet365 on the Kentucky Derby, it might well be the perfect opportunity to tick that ambition off. Connections certainly appear willing to go to the USA.

Having ridden two of the last three 2000 Guineas winners in Gleneagles and Churchill, Moore could be forgiven for letting someone else have a go. In the meantime, American horse racing fans will get to see him riding across Kentucky at Lexington track Keeneland.

Derby 2017 by LunchboxLarry

Moore piloted the Todd Pletcher trained colt Marconi in the Blue Grass Stakes – a recognized Kentucky Derby trial – on April 7. Pletcher called in a favor from Coolmore as that day also contained big races throughout the USA, notably in New York and California. [Moore’s mount finished off the board].

Taking this ride Stateside just a few weeks before the Kentucky Derby may be the biggest hint yet that Moore will be there on May 5 aboard Mendelssohn. Pletcher was keen to downplay the significance of booking the jockey, though, adding it had been arranged before the big Meydan win.

Although trainer and rider team up with Marconi at Keeneland, they could be competing against one another come the Kentucky Derby if Moore is on Medelssohn. Pletcher has a number of contenders for this year’s renewal of the richest Group 1 prize in the United States including market principal Audible.

And what of the 2000 Guineas hopes? Well, in Moore’s stead O’Brien can always call upon son Donnacha or Seamie Heffernan to ride Newmarket Classic contenders Saxon Warrior and Gustav Klimt.