Foreign raiders may ring alarm

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2003, 12:00am

The more open resolve of Japanese racing authorities in recent years has not been without its tests already, but last Sunday's Japanese Derby fixture must have galvanised a few of the old reflexes.

It is less than 10 years ago that New Zealand's Lisa Cropp and the ex-Hong Kong-based Englishman Alan Munro blazed the trail as the first foreign jockeys to gain contracts in the closed world of Japanese racing. Since then, there has been a steady flow of foreign riders there but usually just one or two at a time.

There are currently three foreigners licensed in Japan and the success of Damien Oliver, Kent Desormeaux and Mirco Demuro in carrying off half the programme - including the Derby - on one of the year's real feature days may ring some alarm bells.

Incidentally, the turnover in Sunday's Japanese Derby alone was around HK$2.5 billion and the trend of betting on big days there could not be more different from the conventional trend in Hong Kong.

While punters here tend to be more hard-nosed and bet in patterns of increase through the card - turnover in Sunday's Champions & Chater was easily passed by the money wagered on the Class Three ninth race - Japanese punters are all about the Big Event.

The dominant feature race on a day will frequently account for as much as 66 per cent of the entire day's betting turnover, regardless of where it falls on the card.