Dittman sets his sights on HK stint

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 September, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 September, 1996, 12:00am

Legendary Australian jockey Mick Dittman has applied to ride in Hong Kong for the final three months of the season.

A rejuvenated Dittman is storming back to the top of the jockeys' ladder in Sydney - where he is once again based - and has applied for the final Club jockey's position for the season.

Traditionally, the final three-month spell goes to an Australasian rider and it has not yet been officially filled.

Dittman has been informed that his application will be considered by the licensing committee when it comes time to fill the final slot.

'The Enforcer' has had previous stints in Hong Kong on international licences but has failed twice in bids to ride under retainer for a season.

He was the subject of applications by both Bruce Hutchison and Lawrie Fownes and the Jockey Club's refusal to grant him a licence made consistent headlines throughout Australia.

Dittman's wife Maureen - they have been together since schooldays - underwent chemotherapy treatment and her health worries prompted the brilliant jockey to become virtually a part-time rider.

He said recently in Australia: 'Maureen is in good health and I am delighted to be back riding as much as I possibly can. I am determined to get back to the very top.' Dittman's determination to succeed afresh is underlined by his decision to ride regularly at midweek Sydney meetings, something he rarely did at the height of his fame.

Dittman also previously applied for a Club jockey position here when those licences were granted for a year. That practice lapsed until South African ace Piere Strydom was given a full-season licence for the present campaign. On the previous occasion, Dittman was passed over in favour of John Marshall who, ironically, is also interested in the final three-month stint this season.