While South Africans will be few and far between at the 22nd edition of the LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship at the Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong on Wednesday, racegoers will be able to enjoy a traditional South African delicacy: boerewors.
A selection of international party bites will be available at trackside food booths for fans’ enjoyment.
These include Unagi (Japanese fresh water eel) hot dogs, breaded Brie cheese with tomato Provencal sauce, and Grilled South Africa Boerewors with Spicy Baked Beans.
Nine races have been scheduled for the evening, with the LONGINES IJC Opening Ceremony to be staged after Race 3, when the 12 participating jockeys will also greet fans. The four-leg LONGINES IJC will comprise races 4, 5, 7 and 8.
Mauritian jockey Karis Teetan is exceptionally excited about competing in the International Jockeys’ Championship after landing an impressive set of rides at Monday’s computer-generated draw.
“All the world’s best jockeys will be on my right and left-hand side, so it’s something incredible,” Teetan said.
“Just to be able to participate with them is already a big achievement for me but to be able to pick up a few nice rides and maybe be competitive with them, that would be really something special.
“This is my third time riding in the IJC and I must say the last two times I did not have many strong chances. This is the first time I can say I have a few live chances and I hope I can do well.”
Teetan landed the prized ride of High Rev in the fourth leg of the IJC – a Class Two over 1,800m – and partners last-start winner G Unit in the series opener, a 1,000m Class Four.
High Rev has strung together two wins on the bounce at the Valley mile and looks poised to enjoy the step-up to 1,800m with only 119 pounds on his back, however gate 10 will make Teetan’s task a little tougher.
“His last two runs have been pretty impressive and his trial was impressive a week ago,” he said. “He looks like a horse who has found his form and is going the right way.
“Of course he goes into this race with not much weight on his back so that might be a big advantage for him.”
After competing only in Sha Tin Griffin races last season and beginning his campaign at the same track this term, G Unit grew a leg when stepping out at the Valley for the first time last start and looks to have plenty more to give.
“He won pretty well last start at Happy Valley over the 1,000m, he showed good speed and he kept that all the way to the line,” Teetan said.
“You would think he must have improved from that run and I don’t think it’s a very strong field so he should have a chance again.”
Rounding out Teetan’s arsenal is the Tony Cruz-trained Dream Warriors in the second leg and Richard Gibson’s All You Know in the third race of the series.
Another jockey who likes his chances is Joao Moreira, who won the IJC in 2012 and is back in contention after missing out last season.
“Last year I wasn’t competing and that felt bad, so I’m very pleased to be back in,” said Moreira, who missed the first three months of last season while riding in Japan. “My rides are not too bad. I think my chances are quite high.”
Moreira teams up with Dennis Yip Chor-hong twice, climbing aboard Murray’s Partners and Crown Avenue, and rates the latter the better chance of the pair.
“Dennis is a very good trainer at Happy Valley, he has had a lot of success there. Crown Avenue is probably the best of the two I’ll be riding for him,” Moreira said.
“Two starts ago he ran second at the Valley, if he brings that form I think he is definitely a winning chance.”
Moreira also rides Tony Millard’s Strathallan and Turin Redstar for Peter Ho Leung. – South China Morning Post