Luke Middlebrook: A revamped and reinvigorated International Jockeys’ Championship is set to go down at Happy Valley Racecourse on Wednesday, with an even six-six split of internationals against Hong Kong-based riders.
Group One stars Ryan Moore and Pierre-Charles Boudot lead the charge of overseas riders on IJC night, joined by fellow Europeans Tom Marquand, Hollie Doyle, Mickael Barzalona and William Buick. The six will go up against leading Hong Kong riders Joao Moreira, Karis Teetan and Zac Purton, with Vincent Ho, Alexis Badel and Neil Callan rounding out the local representatives.
Officials will also use a new system designed to help even the spread of the quality of the rides this year when, previously, mounts have been handed out via a random ballot factoring a jockey’s minimum riding weight.
This year, the HKJC’s Jockey Challenge oddsmakers will price up each of the four races, with the aim to give every jockey an 8.33% chance across the four races. If a jockey rides an even-money shot in one race, their other three rides will have to come from those considered more outsider chances, for example.
Other changes to make the event more competitive include prize money increased by 20 per cent to encourage more owners and trainers to target the races, while the handicappers have given preference to the horses who have shown the best recent form.
Allocated jockey rides:
Alexis Badel (Hong Kong) – Farm Bumper, Gallant Crown, Hang’s Decision, Lucky Quality.
Mickael Barzalona (France) – Young Victory, Thunder Stomp, Savaquin, Mehboob.
Pierre-Charles Boudot (France) – Jazz Steed, Maldives, Reel Bizzy, Storm Warnings.
William Buick (Great Britain) – Happy Good Guys, Regency Master, Noble Steed, Beauty Spark.
Neil Callan (Hong Kong) – Winner’s Heart, Lady First, Lightning Steed, Meridian Genius.
Hollie Doyle (Great Britain) – Happily Friends, Universal Go Go, Sunny Lad, Harmony N Blessed.
Vincent Ho (Hong Kong) – Travel Datuk, Anonyma, Hall of Champ, What A Legend.
Tom Marquand (Great Britain) – Very Sweet Orange, Nunchuks, Surrealism, Wind N Grass.
Ryan Moore (Great Britain) – Packing Champion, Play Wise, Jolly Honour, Grateful Heart.
Joao Moreira (Hong Kong) – Gouten Of Garo, Royal Racer, Smiling City, Cue The Music.
Zac Purton (Hong Kong) – Hey Pal, Fearless Fire, Gift Of Lifeline, Flying Bonus.
Karis Teetan (Hong Kong) – Oversubscribed, Right Honourable, Helene Wisdom Star, Winston’s Lad.