The jockeys' allocation for Wednesday night's International Jockeys'
Championship took place at Sha Tin Racecourse Monday morning. Top jockey Zac
Purton, fresh from winning the World Super Jockeys Series in Japan at the end of
November, is hoping his luck can hold for the annual Happy Valley event, which
has again drawn 12 of the world's finest riders.
"It's been quite a year and hopefully the good times aren't over yet," Purton said in reference to Wednesday night and Sunday's International races, after the allocation of mounts for the four International Jockeys' Championship races.
Purton has had much to celebrate in 2012 aside from his series win in Japan. He, of course, partnered star Hong Kong sprinter Little Bridge to victory at Royal Ascot in June; he was married to Nicole Cassidy last Friday and he is second only to perennial champion Douglas Whyte in the jockeys' premiership this season.
"On balance, it looks like my rides for Wednesday are OK," Purton said. "Obviously I'll need to head home and have another look at the form and the barrier draws and you always need a bit of luck in these races but we might be all right.
"I'm riding two horses (All Lucky and Chancellor) for Tony Cruz and I'm not that familiar with them but Matthew (Chadwick) seemed a bit disappointed that he didn't draw at least one of them, so I'm taking that as a good sign."
Purton said he was also looking forward to the Hong Kong International Races on Sunday when his mounts will include high profile runners Ambitious Dragon and Little Bridge.
"It's a great week to be in Hong Kong even if it did mean we didn't get much of a honeymoon," he said.
In the Hong Kong Sprint, Purton will be competing against his father-in-law Jim Cassidy, who rides Australian sprinter Sea Siren.
Hong Kong's 12-time champion jockey Whyte was, like Purton, keen to do some more homework before commenting on his Wednesday night prospects.
"I need to study the form a bit further and check the draws because we all know how important that can be at the Valley. Whatever happens, I'll be giving it my best shot," Whyte said.Whyte, the current season premiership leader on 28 wins, will ride China Delight, Expectator and two interesting runners for Derek Cruz in the final two legs -- Honey Princess and My Home Town.
Honey Princess, from the United Kingdom, is having her first run in Hong Kong and the three-year-old filly is one of the few female racehorses in training at Sha Tin. My Home Town was a winner at the meeting last year.
Up-and-coming jockey Matthew Chadwick looks to have drawn well as he prepares to take on Whyte, Purton and several more of the world's best riders. Chadwick rides Very Well (whom he rode last start); the consistent performer Ray's Favourite along with Victory Mascot and Great Renown.
The night's star studded line-up boasts Olivier Peslier, William Buick, Joao Moreira, Ryan Moore, Christophe Lemaire, James McDonald, Craig Williams, Yuichi Fukunaga and Frankel's jockey Tom Queally whose mounts include Travel Guide -- a winner at last year's meeting for Frankie Dettori.
Click here for the complete list of riding assignments in the four-race competition.