Luckily for Craig Williams he knows the lay of the land in Hong Kong.
Reliant on racing manager Mark Guest to book his rides in Australia, Williams will be on his own when he goes to Hong Kong after Saturday’s Flemington meeting.
Williams rode successfully in Hong Kong from 2001 to 2005, booking his own rides which he needs to do again in his upcoming stint.
Since learning of his contract, Williams has been spending more time doing homework on Hong Kong.
“I’ve got five rides in Hong Kong on Sunday and I’ve got to start working on Happy Valley for next Wednesday,” Williams said.
“As soon as I get over there and start doing the replays on the horses I’m riding and the opposition, hopefully it will all start falling into place.
“It’s not my backyard and hasn’t been for a long time but so far I’ve had really good support.”
While in Hong Kong, Williams will leave his Australian rides to Guest who has been working with the jockey since 2005.
“We’ve been working together for 10 or 11 years now and he’s got a great understanding of what I can and can’t do, what I like to do, what I don’t like to do,” Williams said.
“I usually only call him to get an understanding of what I’m doing and where I’m going.
“He’ll ask me at certain times of the year where I want to go, but usually he tells me where I’m going and usually he has a reason for it.”
With Williams riding in Hong Kong until December 27 he said Guest would have his rides sorted for his return at Moonee Valley on New Year’s Eve and Flemington the following day.
He says Guest already has rides in store for next month’s Magic Millions carnival on the Gold Coast.
After seven winners at the past three metropolitan meetings, early Flemington markets suggest Williams will leave for Hong Kong in good form.
He rides favourites, Divine Mr Artie in the Plenary Group Handicap and Khaki in the Dorevitch Pathology Charity Plate as well as equal favourite Infra Dig in the Lanec Services Handicap.