Manning promised Bowl mount on Desert Style
IRISH jockey Kevin Manning will ride smart sprinter Desert Style in the International Bowl in December if owner Maktoum-Al-Maktoum accepts the Jockey Club's invitation to run in the 1,400-metre Group Two event, writes Robin Parke.
Manning rode Desert Style to two of his Group Three successes in Ireland for trainer Jim Bolger, who is also the jockey's father-in-law. 'He has told me that I will 100 per cent have the ride, but it is up to the owners to decide whether they want to come. 'I have no doubt Desert Style would be competitive. He is a very good sprinter and he would love Sha Tin,' said Manning.
The strength of the European entries, particularly in the 2,400-metre Vase, has surprised many observers in England, but certainly not senior Jockey Club handicapper here, Martyn Stewart. 'We deliberately released the invited European runners early at the request of trainers there. They wanted to know very early whether they had been invited - or where they stood in the reserve list - so that they could decide whether to keep the horse in work.' The handicapper also clarified the situation regarding Group One winners after they have been invited.
The Jockey Club rightly decided to penalise such winners by five pounds, but it applies to the International Cup only. 'For various reasons we could not extend that ruling to cover the Bowl and the Vase. In relation to the Cup, it was hoped that it would encourage trainers to enter while still being able to compete in other Group races,' said Stewart. With the Vase not covered, there is now a chance that Arc runner-up Freedom Cry will be ruled out of the Hong Kong race - if he wins his Breeders' Cup race at Belmont Park.