Jockeys to fly the flag for Australia in Hong Kong
Antipodean horses, bar Comin’ Though, may be absent but Australian based jockeys - aside from those in residence - will certainly be prominent at next month’s Hong Kong International races with Hugh Bowman, Tye Angland, Michael Walker and James McDonald now locked in.
Champion jockey Hugh Bowman renews his association with Werther in the Hong Kong Cup and will also ride Singapore’s sprint sensation Lim’s Cruiser in the Hong Kong Sprint. The jockey has also been booked to partner 2016 winner Beauty Only in the Hong Kong Mile.
Meanwhile James McDonald’s agent Mark Guest confirmed, last night, that his man has picked up the plum ride on Irish Derby winner and Mackinnon Stakes second Latrobe in the Cup and will ride Fifty Fifty, for local trainer Peter Ho, in the Mile.
Angland, who rides at Sha Tin on Sunday, has been booked for Ivictory in the Sprint and Walker is aboard Prince Of Arran in the Vase and on Mile hopeful Comin’ Through.
“After a lovely, quiet week at home I’m back into my routine now to be ready for the two big meetings in Hong Kong,” Bowman said in reference to his time off due to a much publicised suspension and to the fact that he will ride in the International Jockeys Championship, which he won in 2016, on December 5 – four days before the International meeting. “I’ve picked up a couple of good rides aside from Werther.”
Bowman said he will then head to Japan to ride in the Christmas eve Arima Kinen, the race on which the All-Star Mile is modelled, before returning to Australia. The suspension has cost him Sunday’s Japan Cup ride on Cheval Grand, on whom he won the race last year.
“I’ve had some luck in Hong Kong but I’d very much like to win one of the majors on International day which I haven’t done,” he said.
Nor has McDonald but he can boast the 2012 Champions Mile on his resume, winning on Xtension for John Moore. Bowman, in Hong Kong, has won the QEII Cup, Hong Kong Derby, Hong Kong Gold Cup and Champions & Chater Cup with Werther and the 2017 Chairman’s Sprint Prize on Lucky Bubbles.
Angland said he was ‘happy to take the the ride straight away’ when messaged by Ivictory’s trainer John Size. The ride became available with Zac Purton opting for the ‘untapped’ Little Giant who’s prepared by David Hall. “His last run wasn’t great,” said Angland,”but if any trainer can turn a horse around then it’s John Size.”
Walker is understandably bullish about Prince Of Arran, after his two excellent runs at Flemington during Cup week, and believes that Comin’ Through is competitive on his best form. Prince Of Arran’s trainer Charlie Fellowes is arguably even more bullish about Walker as he told the Hong Kong Jockey Club yesterday: “Michael Walker had never ridden him before (this spring), but he worked him out very well and everything went like clockwork in the Lexus Stakes at Flemington, where he was worth more than the half-length verdict over Brimham Rocks, thanks to Michael making a decisive move over a furlong out.
“Prince Of Arran isn’t the easiest ride, but Michael worked him out quicker than any other jockey who’s ridden him. That’s why we signed him up for Hong Kong straight after the Melbourne Cup.”
Singapore’s champion sprinter Lim’s Cruiser faces a huge challenge against the best in Hong Kong but Bowman’s engagement won’t hurt and he impressed in his excellent first-up win at Kranji last Tuesday night. He certainly adds a genuine element of interest to the Sprint.
As does the Hong Kong Cup nomination of South African galloper Northern Superstar, formerly known as Edict Of Nantes. The 2017 Cape Derby and Daily News 2000 winner, who was also placed in the Durban July, debuts in Hong Kong in Sunday’s Class 1 Chevalier Cup.
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