Jockeys queue up for Club positions
The Licensing Committee will sift through a whopping 40 applications for positions as Club jockeys next season.
Sorting the wheat from the chaff is not expected to take too long, but the sheer volume of applications shows how prized a jockey's position in Hong Kong remains.
Currently licenced jockeys who have already applied will be asked to re-submit applications specifying which type of Club jockey position they'd prefer.
These will fall into distinct categories as outlined last week by the Licensing Committee.
There will be four full-season jockeys and two likely to start the season in September with a chance to be renewed for 4.5 months if they are successful.
There will also be three-month licences available, while internationally known jockeys such as Kieren Fallon, who is the British champion, could expect to be here from November 1 until after the Derby in March. Front-runners for the full-season licences are South Africans Robbie Fradd and Douglas Whyte.
Fradd has been linked with the stable jockey position for Tony Cruz, who will split with Eric Saint-Martin next season, leaving the French ace - currently joint top of the table - seeking either a Club job or the position with Peter Ho Leung.
Fradd, who has been markedly successful as a Club jockey, is expected to re-submit an application for a full-season job.
Whyte, who began his highly successful Hong Kong career as an unknown Club rider, will submit an application seeking a full-season position.
Director of racing Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said yesterday that two new trainers would be appointed.
There are around 30 applications from Hong Kong and overseas and the successful names will be announced after the next Licensing Committee meeting late next month.
There is no guarantee that one of the new posts will be filled by a local assistant trainer, even though one of the positions becomes available following the retirement of Lam Hung-fie.
The new trainers also look like being selected on proven ability and experience.