Jockey Club will witness downside to international racing on Sunday - but officials have to look at the bigger picture

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 June, 2009, 12:00am

On Sunday the Jockey Club will have to put on a big smile and deny the sour taste of the medicine as it experiences the downside to international racing on its bottom line.

Armada and Sight Winner will represent Hong Kong in the Yasuda Kinen, the biggest mile race in Japan and the final leg of the Asian Mile Challenge. It's always a great race and a career-defining one for many Japanese champions as well as two famous Hong Kong horses - Fairy King Prawn (2000) and Bullish Luck (2006).

This weekend, however, the Yasuda will draw more heavily on Hong Kong's resources than usual. Not only will it cost us the presence of champion jockey Douglas Whyte for the big programme at Sha Tin but premiership runner-up Brett Prebble as well.

Now Hongkongers are probably the most jockey-conscious horse players in the world. If Whyte is not here, they happily support Prebble. And if Prebble is missing for any reason, suspension or otherwise, then the Durban Demon (pictured) becomes their focus.

This week they are both away at the same time, riding horses that will probably struggle against a strong-looking local line-up at Tokyo racecourse. And their shoes cannot even be filled by the man who sits in third spot on the ladder, Olivier Doleuze, out for the season with an injured heel.

That amounts to a talent vacuum that might have an unpleasant consequent at the betting windows. At which time officials might need to remember the spirit of their own creed on international racing - it's all about the bigger picture.