Dittman's burning desire for longer trip
By LAWRENCE WADEY and ROBIN PARKE
IT was great day all round for riders who returned to Hong Kong especially for yesterday's big day.
And it looks as if winning rider Mick Dittman, who scored on Wonderful Moment for Ivan Allan in the seventh yesterday, would like to make his next stay in Hong Kong just a little bit longer. About two months and 30 days longer to be more exact.
Yes, the legendary Australian will almost certainly apply for a three-month visiting licence next season - despite having had the odd problem or two with our licensing board in the past.
Said Mick: ''I have been thrilled by the reception I have received here and I mean from everybody.
''It has been a pleasure and I would certainly like to come back for a bit longer. A three-month licence would be ideal for me and that's what I have in mind.'' He showed another side to his immense talent when scoring on Wonderful Moment. His use of the whip has been a hallmark of his style over the years but he showed on yesterday's winner that he is a thoughtful hands and heels rider.
Wonderful Moment was hanging and Dittman elected to push him right out to the line. By heavens, he does know what this game is all about.
ANOTHER man for any big day is invariably Epsom Derby-winning jockey Walter Swinburn.
But there are some days when it's probably wise to stay in bed, if that is possible. It wasn't our old pal's day yesterday.
He watched from an increasingly weakening position on Mighty Mighty as the Mick Kinane-ridden Cop The Cash won the opening event. That ride had been offered to Walter before it went to his compatriot. And before that, stable jockey John Marshall had turned it down.
Then, in a later race, Walter dropped his whip at the 300-metre mark in a race that turned into a duel between his mount, Deerfield, and the ultra-aggressive Declan Murphy on winner Our Pal.
As they say, the bad days just make you appreciate the good ones that much more.
IT'S just as well Silk Ali didn't win the big one yesterday otherwise we might not have seen another old mate, trainer Bruce Hutchison, for a week or two.
''If that one wins, I'll walk to Beijing,'' he said earlier this week. He'd certainly be missed - and think of the shoe leather saved. THE International Day started on a bad footing for one regular punter.
He woke to find that his partner from the night before had disappeared not only with his wallet but also with his shoes. Or so he tells us.
''I only knew her first name and she seemed such a lovely girl.'' It is understand that, at the end of the day, the Jockey Club had his shirt.
Top marks for the track 'meat' IT'S all over for another year but full marks to so many people in the Royal Hongkong Jockey Club for making International Races week such a success.
And let one of the unsung heroes take a bow, Michel Commend.
He's the imperturbable chap who oversaw the daily breakfast buffet laid out in front of the grandstand for all those who turned up for daily trackwork last week.
With the overseas horses all working late, the track was busy until well after 9.30 am.
And there were many making a beeline for the breakfast table. We can state, without fear of contradiction, that the sausages were particularly good.
A highly commendable effort.