Boss & Co can't wait to crack the whip

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 September, 2007, 12:00am

Never mind the horses, Hong Kong's jockeys are champing at the bit to get the season under way and the 'new boys' will be leading the charge.

Australian Zac Purton and South African Kevin Shea will be stepping out for the first time in Hong Kong as regulars, but triple Melbourne Cup-winning Glen Boss is just as excited even though he has been here before on several stints in the late 1990s.

'I haven't ridden races for a couple of months and didn't ride at all for a while before I got here because I took my family overseas on holidays. So I'm coming in extremely fresh, really keen and it's definitely a case of fasten your seat belts, here we go,' Boss enthused.

'I got here a bit earlier than most but I wanted that extra time riding work in the warm weather to get my fitness back again. It's all gone perfectly, I'm riding plenty of work and I'm feeling great.'

Boss has been the king of the major events in Australia, topping the list of big race winners but says his enthusiasm for the season ahead also has a lot to do with fresh challenges after eight years away from Hong Kong racing.

'I'm looking at it as a long term proposition. I think I'm coming at the right time and I'm better prepared mentally for it than when I first rode here,' he said. 'The response from trainers and owners has been fantastic and I feel like I can make a real impact.

'From what I can see, I'll be riding lighter than most of the expatriates, so that should broaden my opportunities. It's never easy here, but I really enjoy the pressure of racing.'

Shea, 44, will be tackling Hong Kong on a permanent basis for the first time after a distinguished career at home, but he is getting plenty of guidance from close friend Anthony Delpech, who has probably seen as much of Hong Kong racing's roller-coaster highs and lows as any rider.

'I'm trying to get used to the different system here, but I'm enjoying that and Anthony's been a great help with everything, especially the mental approach. He told me Hong Kong has given him his highest highs and lowest lows he's known in racing,' Shea said.

'So you have to be ready for everything, but I'm not a guy to let things get me down. It's just a patience thing and if something isn't quite happening for me I'm prepared to keep working at it until things turn around.

'I've always wanted to ride here and I feel blessed I've been given this chance. Now I'm like everyone else - just waiting for it all to begin. You can feel everybody's so keen to get going.'