Edited press release
Hong Kong trainers Tony Millard and Caspar Fownes are looking forward to the Cathay Pacific International Jockeys’ Championship the evening of Dec. 7 with runners in each of the four legs and top overseas riders engaged.
“Two for Ryan (Moore) and one for Frankie (Dettori); it doesn’t get much better than that. Let’s hope the trainer and the horses are up to scratch for them,” Millard said. “He’s been looking forward all year to the chance of teaming up again with Ryan Moore,” joked Millard of Something Special, who won for Moore at this meeting in 2010, “and I’m confident the other horses are in good shape and in suitable races too.” Millard’s other runners are Romancing Tamar, Sleep Well, and Star Of Fame.
No one will be more competitive than England’s Moore, who shared the title in 2009 and won it outright last year. “I’m really looking forward to it,” said the hat trick-seeking Moore. “After Sunday I’m really looking forward to a nice long holiday and no more flying for a bit.”
If Moore wins, it will bring him level with Douglas Whyte who already has three Jockeys Championship titles to his name. But typically the 11-time Hong Kong champion has no intention of giving up his leadership easily.
“I wouldn’t say I’m confident of all my rides but they’ve all got chances,” said Whyte of South Africa. “I love it when all the boys come to town for this event. It’s great to be able to compete against the best. And of course I’d love to win it. The day I get tired of winning will be the day that I’ll retire.”
Fownes said he was confident his four runners—Potential, Moon Chaser, Perfect Gear, and the promising Mighty K—were all “ready to run well” and he was more than happy with his allocated jockeys, just not so pleased with the barrier draws.
“You really wouldn’t believe the draws. I’ve got five runners on the night drawn nine or worse and in the first three legs of the jockeys’ series I’ve landed 11, 12, and 11. Oh well, we might need some luck but all four horses are in good shape and have decent chances on form.
“And I’ve got the right men in the saddle. I don’t know Luke Nolen well but he’s obviously top class and I’m pleased to give him his first ride here,” Fownes said of Nolen drawing Potential in Race 3.
Locals Douglas Whyte, Brett Prebble, and Matthew Chadwick have the remaining Fownes mounts.
“Barrier 12’s not going to be easy for young Matthew (Chadwick) on an inexperienced 3-year-old like Mighty K but he’s a horse you’d think could progress through the classes,” Fownes said.
This year’s l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) winning-jockey Andrasch Starke, a dual winner of the Hong Kong series like Dettori and Moore, may get off to a good start having drawn Lucky Chevalier—a last start placegetter at the course and distance and well drawn in five—in the first leg.
The first race on Jockeys Championship night starts at 7 p.m. Hong Kong time.