Hong Kong Announces Jockeys' Championship Invitees

Edited from a release

The world's elite jockeys have been invited for the sixth International Jockeys' Championship at Happy Valley Racecourse on Wednesday, Dec. 10, a prelude to the Hong Kong International Races on Sunday, Dec.14.

Past winners Frankie Dettori (1999 and 2001), Andrasch Starke (2000) and Douglas Whyte (2002) will return to Happy Valley to join a champion cast of jockeys from the four corners of the globe.

The jockeys taking part are as follows:
Jockey's name, Representing
1--Mirco Demuro, Italy
2--Frankie Dettori, United Arab Emirates
3--Shane Dye, New Zealand
4--Kieren Fallon, Great Britain
5--Mick Kinane, Ireland
6--Damien Oliver, Australia
7--Christophe Soumillon, France
8--Andrasch Starke, Germany
9--Yutaka Take, Japan
10--Douglas Whyte, Hong Kong

A top class American jockey will be announced at a later date
The 12th jockey will be leading local rider as at December 7, 2003.

"We have received lots of enquiries from top class jockeys from across the globe wanting to take part in this year's International Jockeys' Championship indicating its prestige and the way it has established itself on racing calendar. Everybody wants to be invited but we only have 12 slots available, so it is more a question of which riders we have to decline over those we invite," said Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Hong Kong Jockey Club's Executive Director of Racing.

"The International Jockeys' Championship is about mixing star jockeys from America, Australia, Europe and Asia--including, of course, Hong Kong--so that our racing fans can appreciate the different styles of riding on a one-off occasion at one of the world's most unique and demanding racecourses. Last season Douglas Whyte became the first Hong Kong-based rider to carry off first prize and we hope the Hong Kong representatives can do well again this year," he added.

Dual champion Frankie Dettori said: "I have many friends in Hong Kong and I always really look forward to returning for the week of the Hong Kong International Races. The International Jockeys' Championship is a unique racing occasion with excellent jockeys participating and I count myself very fortunate to have won it twice already. One thing is for sure and that's the fans at Happy Valley can bet that I will be giving it everything to make it a hat trick in 2003."

Defending champion Douglas Whyte said: "I was delighted to win the International Jockeys' Championship for the first time last year and very proud to become the first locally-based rider to achieve the honour. It was certainly one of the highlights of my career here to date. I will be going all out to defend my title this year and I'm very much looking forward to the challenge."

The Hong Kong Jockey Club would like to thank the owners and trainers of the horses competing in the IJC races. The jockeys are randomly allocated their mounts in a draw and the winner will be the one accumulating the most points during three races carrying a prize-money bonus of 30%.

For each of the three races there are 12 points awarded to the winning jockey; six points to the first runner-up, four points to the second runner-up; three points to the fourth and two points to the fifth. The champion is the jockey with the highest total points and his reward will be HK$200,000, with HK100,000 going to second place. In the event of a tie, the jockey who has the most number of higher point-earning places wins.