Some of the most talented riders in the world will be competing in the LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship at Happy Valley Racecourse on Wednesday, 6th December. This is the richest jockey championship worldwide and a HK$800,000 prize fund is up for grabs!
The event features 4 jockeys from Hong Kong and 8 from overseas. The winning jockey receives HK$500,000, which is an enormous payday for any professional rider.
The Championship involves 4 races, with the jockeys picking-up points for top-three finishes in each contest.
12 points for 1st; 6 points for 2nd; 4 points for 3rd.
Here is the lowdown, on the 12 jockeys looking to scoop this year’s prize…
The 34-year-old, of course, needs no introduction to any racing fan and he’s now established as the most highly-regarded horseman in the world. Moore’s honour-roll includes UK Champion Jockey (2006, 2008, 2009), UK Champion Apprentice (2003) and LONGINES World’s Best Jockey Award winner (2014 & 2016). He won this event in both 2009 (shared) and 2010. Runner-up spots were secured in 2014 and 2015, but Moore is first and foremost a winner so he will surely back himself to come out on top in 2017. This year, Moore has finished first in 20 G1 races including the 2000 Guineas, the Commonwealth Cup, the Coronation Stakes, the Dewhurst Stakes, the Racing Post Trophy and the St Leger Stakes. As always, the brilliant Englishman is the one to beat.
He’s only 24 but has already won the French Champion Jockey title, on two occasions – the last being in 2016. Pierre-Charles Boudot’s major victories include the Prix Rothschild the Prix Jacques le Marois and the Sun Chariot Stakes. This will be his first appearance, in the International Jockey Championship, but he has already notched 1200 career wins and is unlikely to be fazed.
Any fan of Australian racing will be familiar with Hugh Bowman, a terrific jockey who won the International Jockey Championship in 2015. The 37-year-old has amassed an incredible 74 G1 wins and is Australia’s most successful jockey in G1 encounters, over the past two seasons. He’s also proven in Hong Kong, with victories in the QEII Cup, Derby and Gold Cup under his belt.
Silvestre de Sousa
The Brazilian endured a tough start to his career, after joining Dermot Weld as a work rider in 2002. Unable to secure any competitive bookings, he moved to England in 2004 and the first victory didn’t arrive until 2006. His perseverance has paid-off though and de Sousa has gradually built his reputation, helped over various periods by the support of Dandy Nicholls, Mark Johnston and the team at Godolphin. His real breakthrough came in 2015, when he won the UK Champion Jockey title. Jim Crowley took this off him, in 2016, but de Sousa wrenched it back this year. In 2015, he made his sole previous appearance in the International Jockey Championships and finished in 4th position.
Like de Sousa, Henrique is also from Brazil, but the 18-year-old has not had to leave his home-country to make his mark and has done so at a much earlier age. Named Gavea Champion Jockey and Champion Apprentice, in both 2015 and 2016, he is regarded as a prodigy and has already won well-over 400 races. G1 successes include the Grande Premio Cruzeiro do Sul (Brazilian Derby) and the Copa ABCPCC Classica Mathias Machline. This will be Henrique’s International Jockey Championship debut, but don’t be surprised if sparks fly when this terrific young rider is at work.
A big name in his home-country of Italy, Demuro was Italian Champion Jockey twice (2011 and 2012) and was also the top apprentice in 2009. He holds the record for most wins in an Italian season (264), but the 35-year-old has shown that he can also perform on the world stage. As well as picking up major victories in Japan, Demuro has become a star in France. He’s rode winners in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, the Prix de Diane, the Prix du Jockey Club and the Poule d’Essai des Poulains. The brother of Mirco is making his International Jockey Championship debut, but should not be underestimated.
Prat finally makes his International Jockey Championship debut, after making his name with stints in both France and the USA. He was the French Champion Apprentice, in 2009 and his first really big victory came with Indonesienne in the 2013 Prix Marcel Boussac. Prat moved to California, in 2009 and has already notched-up 16 G1 wins. In late-September of this year, he picked-up 3 G1 victories in a single day at Santa Anita. Prat is an outstanding jockey, who can make his mark in Hong Kong this week.
After 4 dominant years in Singapore, the Brazilian moved to Hong Kong and continued to succeed. Not only has he been Champion Jockey, for three consecutive seasons, Moreira has also broken records with the number of wins he has amassed. He won the International Jockey Championship in 2012 and finished runner-up in 2014. The ‘Magic Man’ is now 34 years of age and no other competing rider has a better understanding of racing conditions in Hong Kong.
He and Moreira have been thorns in each other’s sides, over the past few years as they are the two leading jockeys in Hong Kong and a long way ahead of the chasing pack. Purton was named Champion Jockey in 2013 and 2014 and was runner -up in the 2012 International Jockey Championship. He’s a winner of the Hong Kong Mile, Derby, Sprint and Vase, but has also shone overseas – landing the Caulfield Cup and the Doncaster Mile. Purton is now 34 and at the peak of his career.
This excellent and very-experienced rider is a huge name in Japan, where he was named JRA Champion Jockey (2014, 2015, 2016) and NAR Champion Jockey (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012). Horses he has been associated with include Gentildonna, Furioso and Straight Girl. Tosaki has now run over 3000 races and this son of a civil servant can be relied on to stay cool when the heat is on.
The Mauritian established himself as a top-ten South Africa jockey, before moving to Hong Kong 4 years ago. He has 5 G1 victories to his name and has represented South Africa in the 2012 International Jockeys’ Invitational in Seoul (Korea). The International Jockey Championship debutant will start as one of the outsiders, but he is well-respected.
Derek Leung Ka-chun
The 29-year-old honed his craft in New Zealand, under the watchful eye of Lance O’Sullivan. Since returning to Hong Kong, he has done very well and was winner of the Tony Cruz Award (which recognises the top home-grown rider) in 2016/2017. He is certainly up against it, in this company though and a top-6 finish will surely be regarded as a success.
Betting With RaceBets
The Hong Kong International Jockey Championship is always an exciting event, so don’t miss it! You will be able to bet on all of the races, when you open an account with RaceBets. We also already have live ante-post markets for the upcoming Hong Kong International Races, which take place on Sunday 10th December. These are 4 G1 encounters, comprising of the Hong Kong Vase, The Hong Kong Sprint, The Hong Kong Mile and the Hong Kong Cup.