Draws Doom U.S. Hopes in HK Jockey Challenge
Australian rider Kerrin McEvoy edged Hong Kong's Zac Purton in the Dec. 4 Longines International Jockeys' Competition as American veterans Gary Stevens and Mike Smith were all but shut out.
McEvoy, 33, won the first of four races at Hong Kong's Happy Valley course after taking an easy lead, earning 12 points. He added another six with a second-place finish in the second leg and those 18 points were enough for victory as he was blanked in the final two races.
Purton, unplaced in the first two events, finished third and first in the final two events, earning 16 points. Christophe Soumillon and Mirco Demuro scored 12 points each to tie for third.
Stevens and Smith have combined for more than 10,000 career wins but that experience was not enough to overcome terrible draws for mounts. All eight horses assigned to the U.S. duo were long shots and ran to their notices. Smith's third-place finish in the second race accounted for the only four points earned by the American duo.
McEvoy noted the names of past winners engraved on the trophy include "some childhood idols. To have my name on there is a real thrill." And this year's competition, he added, represented "a great lineup of jockeys. Those guys, the Americans, have 10,000 winners between them," he said.
McEvoy has 46 group I wins to his credit, including the Melbourne Cup and Caulfield Cup (both Aus-I) in his native land.
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