Bowman confident ahead of International Jockeys’ Championship

Hugh Bowman is a leading contender for Wednesday’s International Jockeys’ Championship at Happy Valley

THE International Meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday is making all the headlines, but the International Jockeys’ Championship at Happy Valley on Wednesday could have even more talent on show.

12 jockeys will do battle for the title with Australia’s Hugh Bowman among the all-star cast. He believes his chances of winning are better this year.

“My rides appear to be better, on paper, than last year so that’s good news. However, it’s all very well to have what looks a nice book of rides, but you’ve got to have things go your way,” Bowman said.

“You need some luck around the Valley.”

One of Bowman’s best rides comes in Race 4 at 11.10pm when he teams up with the John Size-trained Premiere. The three-year-old has had three starts for two placings and it’s currently a $3 chance at

Bowman’s toughest opposition will come via defending champion Gavin Lerena, who is happy to be back despite only a moderate book of rides.

“It’s fantastic to be here and to test yourself against the very best. You wouldn’t pass it up for anything,” Lerena said.

“I’m not too sure about the strength of my rides, but that was also the case last year. I’ll just go out there and enjoy it, do my best and hope for the best.”

Quality international rider Pat Smullen, like Bowman, believes his book of rides is more impressive than last year, which includes two recent winners.

“I’ve got two last-time winners with Happy Valley form so that’s a good start,” Smullen said.

Frenchman Florent Geroux is representing the United States and is vying to become the countries first International Jockeys’ Championship winner.

“I was here this time last year and came along as a spectator before riding in the Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin on the Sunday,” Geroux said.

“It’s an amazing track and it’s a privilege to be here. I’m very excited to be here. It’s not going to be that strange to me as I have ridden a thousand odd races on right-handed tracks in France and England and Ireland.

“I’m really looking forward to it.”

Gibson hoping to turn frustrating season around

Hong Kong-based trainer Richard Gibson is hoping Giant Treasure can turn his season around in the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile on Sunday.

Gibson has an outstanding record in the race having trained Gold-Fun to three consecutive placings and although Giant Treasure is out of form, he believes it has the ability to cause the upset at $21 with

“He’s as talented as I’ve ever trained but he doesn’t tick all the boxes on race day, which makes him a frustrating case,” Gibson said.

“Giant Treasure is one of those horses, he’s always got the potential to throw in a good race at this level, but everything really has got to click for him on the day and that’s why he’s a frustrating horse to train.

“I think the most polite way to describe him would be as a ‘thinker’. He’s certainly got the ability but everything has to go right for him. He doesn’t need a micro excuse for things to go wrong.

“There’s no question about it, in terms of ability, he’s up to that standard.”

Giant Treasure finished eighth in the Group 2 Jockey Club Mile last start, but Gibson believes it wasn’t suited by the pace in that contest.

“He wasn’t suited by being ridden up on the pace last time so we’ll be hoping for a fast pace and sit in behind with some cover,” Gibson said.

“We’re just modifying the gear on him too – he’s going to be wearing hood, blinkers and cross nose band on Sunday.”

Maurice dominates Hong Kong Cup market

Champion Japanese horse Maurice is the dominating favourite for Sunday’s Group 1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup after its win in the Tenno Sho in November.

The Noriyuki Hori-trained five-year-old is unbeaten in two Hong Kong starts which included the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile in 2015 before coming back five months later and winning the Group 1 Champions Mile.

Rated one of the best horses in the world, Maurice has a hold on the market at $2.20 with fellow Japanese star A Shin Hikari on the second line of betting at $6.50.

Last year’s Hong Kong Cup winner has been problematic for punters at its last two starts. It finished a disappointing sixth at Ascot in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes before running 12th in the Tenno Sho.

It will certainly need to improve to figure in the finish at Sha Tin on Sunday, but there’s no doubting the class of the Deep Impact horse.

Updated 2016 Hong Kong Cup market:

Maurice – $2.20 at
A Shin Hikari – $6.50
Designs On Rome – $8
Queens Ring – $9
Staphanos – $9
Lovely Day – $12
Secret Weapon – $13
Blazing Speed – $16
Military Attack – $21
Potemkin – $34
Elliptique – $34
Horse Of Fortune – $41
Helene Super Star – $101
Gun Pit – $101

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